“Dizziness” and “Vertigo” are common complaints seen in ENT clinical practise. At our Trivandrum clinic too, roughly one in 10 patients complain of sudden giddiness. However the term dizziness is vague and often used to describe a variety of experiences, including sensations of motion, weakness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, emotional upset, and depression. Dizziness can be differentiated into vertigo, near syncope, disequilibrium, and nonspecific dizziness.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is an illusion of motion, typically described as the room spinning

Some causes of vertigo include:

Peripheral Causes

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Vestibular neuritis (or neuronitis)/labyrinthitis
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Foreign body in ear canal
  • Acute otitis media
  • Perilymphatic fistula
  • Trauma (labyrinth concussion)
  • Motion sickness
  • Acoustic neuroma

Central Causes

  • Vertebral basilar artery insufficiency
  • Cerebellar hemorrhage or infarction
  • Tumor
  • Migrainous vertigo
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic injury (temporal bone fracture, postconcussive syndrome)
  • Infection (encephalitis, meningitis, brain abscess)
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Subclavian steal syndrome

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

This is one of the commonest causes of vertigo. This causes Short-lived (typically less than 30 seconds), positional, fatigable episodes; more often in older adults. It os often associated with nausea and vomiting. Certain positions can precipitate vertigo. It causes a positive result on Hallpike test (posterior semicircular canal) or supine roll test (horizontal canal).

If you experience vertigo, book an appointment. Though the symptoms are often very severe, vertigo can be easily treated by an expert ENT specialist.