You might be surprised to learn that vertigo isn’t a standalone condition; it’s actually a symptom of another health condition. This symptom is common for people who are having inner ear problems, which is why an ENT might be the right answer for treatment.
What Does Vertigo Feel Like?
When vertigo hits, it often makes a person dizzy. For example, you might feel the sensation that the world is tipping or you are being pulled to the side. Some people experience sickness from spinning and disorientation.
These symptoms can induce anxiety or headaches. Sometimes, you feel fullness or pressure in your ears and head. Vertigo can also affect your hearing and cause buzzing, ringing, or hearing loss.
It is common for the symptoms of vertigo to intensify with a change in the position of your head. For example, you might experience extreme dizziness when looking over your shoulder or moving from sitting to standing.
Vertigo symptoms usually last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Some patients find that the symptoms come and go and are influenced by lifestyle and daily activities.
Underlying Causes of Vertigo
If you are experiencing vertigo, then your symptoms might be triggered by one of these causes:
· Inner ear infection, either viral or bacterial
· Vestibular disorders
· Cardiovascular problems, such as anemia, irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure
· Issues with the central nervous system, including the brain or brainstem
· Reaction to medication
· Meniere’s disease, causing changing pressure in the ear
· Neck or head injury
· Migraine headaches
· Diabetes or blood sugar issues
The balance system is mostly tied to the inner ear and is also connected to the eyes, brainstem, brain, and sensory nerves in the body. These centers communicate with the others, helping you maintain balance. If something gets in the way of the messages that are sent and received, then it could cause you to feel dizziness and lose your balance.
When to See an ENT
Do you need to talk to an ENT about your vertigo? If you experience these symptoms regularly, and they affect your daily activities, then it might be time to seek medical assistance. Also, it is recommended to talk to a doctor if your vertigo lasts for more than a day.
Visiting a doctor allows you to find the underlying cause of your symptoms so that a treatment plan can be designed. Call to schedule a consultation to learn more about the treatment options.
Keep in mind that vertigo can sometimes be a symptom of a serious medical condition. If you experience vertigo with a sudden change in vision or speech, then it could be a sign of a stroke. Immediate medical treatment is needed to minimize the long-term effects of the condition.
Diagnosis and Treatment Process
Identifying the underlying cause of vertigo can be a complex process since multiple variables can affect your balance. Often, this diagnosis requires multiple tests. The ENT will begin with a physical exam and a conversation about your medical history.
As you are talking to the doctor, share as much information as you can about the sensations you experience, when the dizziness started, and what often triggers the episodes. This information will help your doctor in identifying the right diagnosis for your condition.
When the diagnosis is identified, then specific treatment recommendations can be provided. Rest assured to know that most cases of vertigo can be treated. Sometimes, vertigo resolves spontaneously. Other times medical treatments are required. Common treatment options include:
· Prescription Medications: Antihistamines or antibiotics can be helpful if vertigo is caused by fluid buildup or an inner ear infection. Another option is to use motion sickness medications to reduce nausea. If vertigo is caused by labyrinthitis, then steroids can be injected behind the eardrum.
· Diet and Lifestyle: There are times when a simple diet and lifestyle changes can have an impact on the development of vertigo. For example, if Meniere’s disease is the underlying cause, then reducing salt consumption can help minimize vertigo symptoms.
· Balance Rehabilitation: Exercise or physical therapy might be needed so you can learn how to compensate for the symptoms. These treatment programs help to reestablish balance, which is essential to minimize the risk of falling.
· Epley Maneuver: This treatment is a series of movements that are performed by a doctor to adjust the calcium crystals in the ear canal. There are also at-home maneuvers that you can learn from your doctor or a physical therapist.
· Surgery: In extreme situations, surgical treatment might be suggested if minimally-invasive treatments aren’t effective. All other means of treatments are tried first to rule out the options. Surgery is only suggested when the patient can’t live a normal life because of the interference of the vertigo symptoms.
Visit with a Local ENT
Our team at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat is here to assist with your diagnosis and treatment plan. If you are experiencing vertigo, then we invite you to contact us right away to schedule a consultation.
At Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat, we offer medical services for patients in the Dallas area. We have offices located nearby in Frisco and Plano, TX. Call to schedule an appointment: (972) 596-4005