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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Is there a treatment or preventionfor vertigo

01/10/2001

Question:

in 1996 i had my first real serious bout with vertigo, i was basically diagnosed with this, then it went away til 1997may and agian in 1998 may and now in november of 2000 only this time i had a bad congestion , sinus, build up which caused a build up of blockage to the ears and then made me dizzy again, my doctor said it is viral infection, possible vertigo but no definite help or advice, so do you have any suggestions or treatments or ways i can avoid this crud, it really disrupts my life and i am really tired of how do i get this and why cant i control it, now i have read to stay away from caffeine, salt and stress, well the stress is the toughest, but what else is out there, can i do something, cause now i have been dizzy on and off since november 22nd , this is tthe longest bout of dizzy, but i have had congestion in my head for weeks and the doctor said that i should take decongestants which i have been on since nov23. adn i am ddried out now, i also take over the counter bonine for the dizziness, but i dont want to live on this, and i am afraid to drive alot, especially on the freeway, i just dont know whn i will get it again, the actual bout doestn last long, its just that i experience this funny feeling in my head, more often, well any help in treatments or preventions . do tell me. thanks

Answer:

Whenever there is a history for recurrent "vertigo" it warrants evaluation by an otolaryngologist or otologist familiar with dizziness and inner ear diseases. "Vertigo" is usually used to describe the sensation of movement or a whirling type sensation without actual movement. Vertigo is also commonly mentioned in association with inner ear disease. From the limited history provided, a thorough neuro-otologic examination is indicated. A detailed history of hearing changes, tinnitus, ear pressure or fullness, as well as the dizziness episodes need to be investigated. A hearing test and specific balance tests are then indicated to help determine a diagnosis. Based upon these results, an imaging study (CT or MRI scan) is also a fairly common diagnostic test performed in the evaluation of dizzy patients.

The reason for performing all these tests is that after determining what is making you dizzy, your physician may be able to provide you with a diagnosis and specific treatment plan. Depending upon the diagnosis, these treatments may range from nothing, to physical therapy for your balance system, to various medications (e.g. diuretics or vestibular suppressants) or even surgery. So without diagnosing the problem, recommendations cannot be made with regards to how to "prevent" further attacks.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati