Dizziness and Vertigo

Patients frequently complain of dizziness for which there are many possible causes which may have nothing to do with the balance organ in the inner ear. Fainting attacks, heart problems, thyroid problems and brain problems can all give rise to feelings of “light-headedness”, “giddiness” and general imbalance. Patients should consult their doctor to find the cause.

One form of dizziness is “vertigo” which is the specific complaint of either the environment moving in relation to the patient or the patient moving in relation to the environment. It is usually a spinning or rotatory sensation. Vertigo is usually linked to problems with the inner ear. Most people who suffer from vertigo due to inner ear problems will recover with time, without any treatment.

Patients with vertigo should consult their doctor or an ENT specialist to find the cause and to arrange effective treatment.

An extremely common type of vertigo is “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (BPPV) which lasts for only a few seconds or minutes but which comes on very suddenly. Further information is available on the patient information leaflet link here. Mr Frosh has an extremely high cure rate by using the Epley Manoeuvre on patients with this condition.

Meni√®re’s disease or endolymphatic hydrops results in episodes of severe vertigo with hearing loss and tinnitus that can last up to several hours. Further information is available on the patient information leaflet link here.

An infection of the inner ear (labyrinthitis) or an inflammation of the balance nerve (vestibular neuronitis) can give rise to severe rotatory dizziness for up to two to three weeks, with a slow return to normal balance which can take a further few weeks. Further information is available on the patient information leaflet link here.

Specialist investigations will help to identify the diagnosis, and will generally include hearing tests, tests of balance, blood tests (rarely), and an MRI scan or CT scan. A management plan depends on the diagnosis.

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