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A Doctor's View on Vertigo Causes

Read the Comment by Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

Vertigo causes range from mild to very serious. Many cases of vertigo arise from disorders of the brain or inner ear. Vertigo causes include:

  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV),
  • Meniere's disease,
  • labyrinthitis,
  • vestibular neuritis, and
  • migraines.
More serious causes of vertigo include:
  • low blood pressure,
  • brain tumors,
  • bleeding into the brain, and
  • loss of blood to the brain.
Read the entire Doctor's View

What causes vertigo?

There are a number of different causes of vertigo. Vertigo can be defined based upon whether the cause is peripheral or central. Central causes of vertigo arise in the brain or spinal cord while peripheral vertigo is due to a problem within the inner ear. The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear can become displaced and cause irritation to the small hair cells within the semicircular canals, leading to vertigo. This is known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Meniere's disease, vertigo associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ear), is caused by fluid buildup within the inner ear; the cause of this fluid accumulation is unknown. Head injuries may lead to damage to the inner ear and be a cause of vertigo. Infrequently, strokes affecting certain areas of the brain, multiple sclerosis, or tumors may lead to an onset of vertigo. Some patients with a type of migraine headache called basilar artery migraine may develop vertigo as a symptom.

Return to Vertigo (Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Home Remedies)

See what others are saying

Comment from: KelBecker, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I suffer from severe vertigo when I get onto an elevator. Even going one floor will make me sick for hours and hours. I always use the stairs when possible. However in a recent trip we were placed on the 30th floor and were absolutely not allowed to use the stairs. In turn I was ill for all four days I was there. I have used the patch you put behind ear and it helped a little, however not enough to allow me to enjoy myself. I always ask for a ground/lower floor if possible.

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Comment from: AceRockol, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 26

I had vertigo off and on for 7 weeks, always when I lay down on my right side in bed. I went to an ENT doctor, and he said it's either the crystals, or my neck. I have degenerative disk disease in a couple of neck vertebrae, as well as scoliosis. I'm really hoping it's the crystals and not my neck. Getting old is painful.

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Comment from: carol d, Female (Patient) Published: January 22

I started have vertigo attacks about 2 years ago. I blamed it on a recent surgery for removal of part of my lung. The first one was strong, it pushed me to the floor. The rest of them were slight and manageable. I had another one today; a bad one. I held on to the table near to me, unable to walk for several minutes. Also, my face felt like a severe blush, a feeling of heat going through my whole body. Two hours later, I still feel unsteady. I am totally recovered from my surgery and don't know why this is happening.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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