Vertigo is one of those conditions with symptoms that come and go. There’s nothing worse than a sudden flare-up. Moments of vertigo are more than just dizzy spells; they can leave you completely unable to stand, with physical reactions like nausea and sweating. If you often find the room spinning around you, it might be time to consult an expert.
The ear, nose, and throat specialists at ENT of New Orleans, with offices in Chalmette, Harvey, New Orleans, and Marrero, Louisiana, can help you understand what’s causing your vertigo flare-ups and learn how to manage them.
The complex workings of your inner ear
The vestibular system, which is responsible for your sense of balance and motion, is very sensitive. The majority of the system is filled with a fluid called endolymph, which helps track and relay information about position, sound, and balance.
Located in the inner ear, the outer bony labyrinth protects the inner membranous one, which houses the peripheral vestibular organs. The anterior, posterior, and lateral semicircular ducts monitor your head’s rotation, while the utricle and saccule (known collectively as the otolith organs) sense acceleration and deceleration.
These otolith organs contain unique hair cells that feed information back through your vestibular nerves to your vestibular nuclei and vestibulocerebellum, which interpret those signals as feelings and sensations.
When sensory data goes awry
Vertigo can feel different for different people. Vertigo occurs when the vestibular system is affected, leading to numerous symptoms:
- Loss of balance
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Sensations of being pulled in one direction
- Involuntary eye movements
- Nausea and vomiting
Many people describe the room spinning around them, with their symptoms worsening when they move their head. During vertigo spells, it’s best to sit down, close your eyes, and hold your head until the feeling abates.
Causes of vertigo flares
There are many reasons that your vertigo is flaring up. If you suffer from migraine episodes, vertigo might be a symptom of an oncoming episode or part of the experience itself (vestibular migraine).
Specific ear conditions can also cause vertigo, including:
- Labyrinthitis, or inflammation of the inner ear
- Meniere's disease, or a build-up of fluid within the ear
- BPPV, in which calcium clumps called canaliths form in the inner ear
At ENT of New Orleans, we offer in-office vestibular testing, which can help give a more accurate diagnosis.
Your treatment depends largely on what’s causing your vertigo. If you’re experiencing inflammation, you might need antibiotics to treat the infection of your inner ear.
However, in many cases of vertigo, your brain just needs time to adjust to changes within your inner ear. Your vertigo spells should become less frequent, and the issue should resolve itself over time.
If your vertigo flares persist, you might benefit from vestibular rehabilitation. This is a type of physical therapy that focuses on fine-tuning the vestibular system, strengthening your sense of balance and coordination.
Struggling to stay steady through vertigo flares? Schedule a consultation with the experts at ENT of New Orleans by calling the location closest to you, or visit our contact page for more information.