Causes of Vertigo

Vertigo, which means dizziness usually accompanied with nausea, is a multifactor symptom that can occur with various ear disorders.

Normal equilibrium depends on the interrelationship of sensations coming from many different organs: from the eyes, muscles, tendons, skin receptors and also from the balance mechanism of the labyrinths of the ear. If these signals are at variance with one another (as interpreted by the higher centres of the brain), and there is a consequent interference with coordination, then vertigo may result.

There are many causes, and there are several conditions in which this symptom is prominent.

Meniere’s Disease

This has already been considered, and is probably the most dramatic disorder involving balance problems.

Benign Postural Vertigo

This can take place when the head is in a particular position. There is usually no obvious cause, or conversely it may follow on from some form of head injury. Symptoms often abate with or without treatment within three to six months.


Some medicinal preparations arc well-known for their ability to destroy or interfere with vestibular function. Streptomycin, medications used for epilepsy, mental depression and hypertension, come into this category. The symptoms may not be clear-cut. If possible, altering medication may bring relief.

Epidemic Vertigo

This strange disorder may occur in young people who have had a simple viral infection. Often many persons with a similar infection about the same time will report sensations of vertigo and vomiting. The cause is unknown but it is probably a toxic effect from the invading germ on the vestibular mechanism. Prochlorperazine may assist, although the condition is probably self-limiting.

Psychogenic Vertigo

Some neurotic patients will describe their vertigo symptoms in striking terms. The level of authenticity is hard to determine, as it is more likely to be one symptom in a maze.

Ischaemia Vertigo

Some patients suffer from vertigo as part of a definite pathological vascular deficiency of the blood supply to the brain. It is referred to as vertebrobasilar ischemia and is really one symptom in a series of others. It is more probable in the person, and treatment is usually satisfactory.