Vertigo is a kind of dizziness where you feel a spinning or rotation sensation. It can last for a few seconds to a few hours. It can affect your daily life if it keeps happening or lasts a long time. You might also have loss of balance, nausea and vomiting.

Causes of vertigo

Most cases of vertigo are caused by problems with the inner ear. These include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – where moving your head in certain ways causes vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis – an infection
  • Vestibular neuronitis – inflammation of your vestibular nerve in your inner ear
  • Ménière's disease – a rare condition that can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ear) or hearing loss

Although less common, problems in the brain can cause vertigo and include:

  • Migraines
  • Stroke and transient ischaemic attack
  • Brain tumour
  • Multiple sclerosis

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

Getting a diagnosis for vertigo

Your GP will discuss your symptoms and medical history. They’ll ask questions to find out if you have vertigo – ie you feel like the world is spinning around you – and not another form of dizziness.

Your GP will examine your ears, eyes and may ask you to stand, sit or move in certain ways to check your balance and help them find the possible cause. They might refer you for further tests.

Treatments for vertigo

Treatment for vertigo depends on the underlying cause and your other symptoms. Most cases get better without needing treatment. You can try to help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms by:

  • Lying still in a dark room
  • Moving your head slowly during your daily activities
  • Preventing falls by using a walking stick
  • Sleeping with your head raised and getting out of bed slowly
  • Relaxing
  • Special exercises can help correct your balance.

Vertigo medication

  • Your doctor may offer you medication to help with nausea
  • Antihistamines can also help relieve vertigo symptoms
  • If you have an inner ear infection, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics

Get in touch

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