There are many parts of your body that work together to help you balance, including your eyes, brain, nerves and inner ears. When any part of your balance system malfunctions, it may make you feel dizzy, off-balance or disoriented. Below are some of the most common causes of dizziness.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Vertigo is the sensation that you’re spinning or the room is moving around you. These feelings tend to worsen when you move your head.
The most common type of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which indicates there is an issue with the inner ear or part of the brainstem. Within the inner ear is a system of canals filled with fluid. As the fluid moves in response to body movements, signals are sent to the brain to tell you how you’re oriented in space.
Sometimes tiny pieces of calcium crystals can become dislodged and float around in the canals, sending incorrect signals to your brain. Fortunately, this can be remedied with a series of body movements your doctor walks you through called the Epley maneuver.
Inflammation of the nerves in the ears can also cause symptoms of vertigo. There are two types: vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis. Vestibular neuritis is inflammation of just the vestibular nerve while labyrinthitis affects both the vestibular nerve and the cochlear nerve. Both of these are caused by an infection, usually a virus.
When an infection is to blame for your symptoms, dizziness comes on suddenly and may be accompanied by hearing loss and tinnitus. Fever, nausea and ear pain are also common.
If the cause is viral, your doctor will likely advise you to rest and hydrate until it passes. If it is bacterial, you’ll be prescribed an antibiotic.
Meniere’s disease is a condition that is not very well understood. People with this condition experience intense episodes of dizziness, hearing loss and tinnitus, often accompanied by nausea and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Many people feel exhausted after an attack passes.
Experts believe that these symptoms are caused by excess fluid in the inner ear. They are not sure what causes it, and there is no cure. However, symptoms can be managed with a low-salt diet, hearing aids and anti-nausea medication.
For more information about the causes of dizziness or to schedule a balance test, call the experts at Topeka ENT today.