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What causes vertigo?

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Vertigo can be caused by many things:

  • Infection, such as the ones that cause the common cold or diarrhea, can cause temporary vertigo via an ear infection. This inner ear infection is generally viral, harmless, and usually goes away in one to six weeks, but drugs are available if it is severe.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo -- positional vertigo or BPPV -- is caused by movement of an otolith -- a tiny calcium particle the size of a grain of sand -- from the part of the ear that senses gravity to the part that senses head position. The person feels as if their head is turning when it isn't. A two-minute therapy done right in the doctor's office can move the otolith back where it belongs and fix the problem. This therapy, called the Epley maneuver, cures vertigo 80% of the time.
  • Meniere's disease is a disorder characterized by severe episodes of vertigo that come and go. Other symptoms of Meniere's disease are tinnitus (ringing in the ear), hearing loss, and pressure or fullness in the ear.
  • Dandy's syndrome is a feeling of everything bouncing up and down. It can happen to people who take an antibiotic that is toxic to the ear. It usually improves over time.
  • Less common, deadly diseases can also cause vertigo, such as tumors or stroke.

SOURCES:

The American Academy of Otolaryngologyc -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Dizziness and Motion Sickness."

The Mayo Clinic: "Dizziness."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 1, 2019

SOURCES:

The American Academy of Otolaryngologyc -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Dizziness and Motion Sickness."

The Mayo Clinic: "Dizziness."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 1, 2019

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What causes lightheadedness?

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