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Vertigo isn’t a condition itself, but is actually a symptom of a variety of other conditions.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is the sensation that your environment is spinning, and it can range in severity.

What are the symptoms of vertigo?

Vertigo is a symptom itself, and is defined by a feeling of spinning or dizziness. Alongside of it, you may also experience:

  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Problems with your balance
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Motion sickness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • Ears feel full
  • Hearing loss
  • Uncontrollable movement of the eyes

What causes vertigo?

Vertigo is most often caused by a problem with the inner ear; however it can also occur because of an issue with your brain.

Specific causes of vertigo can include:

  • Migraines
  • BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) – a condition where a particular head movement can activate vertigo
  • Inner ear infections
  • Inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuronitis)
  • Head trauma
  • Certain medications
  • Ménière’s disease – a rare condition affecting the inner ear

How is vertigo diagnosed?

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should speak to your consultant.

Most of the time the diagnosis can be made from the consultant listening carefully to your story and a simple examination of your ears, eyes and balance.

Your consultant may also recommend that you undergo further tests, including:

  • Hearing tests
  • MRIs
  • Balance tests

How is vertigo treated?

The treatment for vertigo will depend upon its cause and severity.

The most common cause is “crystals in the ear” – BPPV – which can be easily treated in the consultation room with a specific movement of the head called Epley’s manoeuvre.

You may be prescribed medication, or you might benefit from certain lifestyle changes. You and your consultant can discuss what they think might work best for you.

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

Find your specialist in vertigo at King Edward VII's Hospital

Need some help?
Call 020 7467 4344

Our team is available to take your call Mon - Fri - 8am – 6pm

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