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Vertigo [Unknown Cause]

Image showing a cross-section of the external, middle, and inner ear, including the ear canal, eardrum, and eustachian tube.

The "inner ear" is located behind the middle ear. It is part of the balance center of your body. Disease of the inner ear causes vertigo -- a false feeling of motion. It feels as if you or the room is spinning. A vertigo attack may cause sudden nausea, vomiting and heavy sweating. Severe vertigo causes a loss of balance and can cause you to fall. During vertigo, small head movements and changes in body position will often make the symptoms worse.

The causes of vertigo include:

  • Inflammation of the inner ear

  • Disease of the nerves to the inner ear

  • Movement of calcium particles in the inner ear

  • Poor blood flow to the balance centers of the brain

An episode of vertigo may last seconds, minutes or hours. Once you are over the first episode, it may never return. However, sometimes symptoms may recur off and on over several weeks or longer, depending on the cause. There may be ringing in the ears or hearing loss, which may be temporary or permanent.

Home Care:

  1. If symptoms are severe, rest quietly in bed. Change positions very slowly. There is usually one position that will feel best, such as lying on one side or lying on your back with your head slightly raised on pillows.

  2. Do not drive or work with dangerous machinery for one week after symptoms go away, in case the symptoms suddenly return.

  3. Take medicine as prescribed to relieve your symptoms. Unless another medicine was prescribed for nausea, vomiting and vertigo, you may use over-the-counter motion sickness pills, such as meclizine (Bonine, Bonamine, Antivert) or dimenhydrinate (Dramamine).

Follow Up

with your doctor or as directed by our staff. Tell the doctor if your ears keep ringing, or if your hearing does not return to normal.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Vertigo gets worse and is not controlled by medicine prescribed

  • Repeated vomiting not relieved by medicine prescribed

  • Increased weakness or fainting

  • Severe headache or unusually drowsy or confused

  • Weakness of an arm or leg or one side of the face

  • Difficulty with speech or vision


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