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Vertigo - possibly sinister reasons behind it?

(15 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Thu 23-Jul-15 14:59:23

I've been googling and wondered if anyone had any advice?

DP has been having episodes of very short lived, sudden-onset vertigo for the past seven months. In the past month they've increased in frequency and are almost a daily occurrence. There is no warning at all. One minute she's fine, the next she feels as if the world has been tipped upside down. The vertigo sometimes causes her to fall over or to grab hold of any solid surface nearby. The attacks last seconds (perhaps three seconds).

The GP has ruled out benign positional vertigo as the attacks don't appear to be triggered by any particular position. It seems, therefore, unlikely to be an inner ear problem.

The GP wants to refer her to a neurologist. I am scaring myself stupid and reading about potential problems with the brain stem. So far it seems, from my reading, that it may be a tumour or something like MS.

DP has no other symptoms and is generally extremely healthy.

Has anyone had this before and can anyone shed any light? Is the neurologist likely to order a brain scan? If it was a tumour, would it be unusual not to have additional symptoms?

Any help most appreciated.

FreckledLeopard Thu 23-Jul-15 18:47:19


themightyfandango Thu 23-Jul-15 19:00:40

Could it be something like POTS?

Obviously very serious conditions need to be ruled out but I had a relative who had sudden onset vertigo from a brain tumour and it wasn't how you describe. She had a sudden violent attack one day and never recovered or was able to leave hospital again.

Doobydoo Thu 23-Jul-15 19:04:45

Mine was sudden onset and i had other stuff going on as well. Went to ent had loads of tests including mri. They decided on vestibular migraine. I could not work as neonatal nurse or any job for a year it was scary. I get the odd flash now and sometimes need to steady myself but am back in quite high pressured nursing role. I am glad they are doing all the tests do try not to Google!

CiderwithBuda Thu 23-Jul-15 19:10:31

A friend had something similar recently - hers turned out to be cervical vertigo due to problems with her neck. A good chiropractor sorted it out. She did have a ct scan and MRI to rule out anything sinister though. One doc suggested a viral inner ear infection but I don't think that would last as long as your DP's obv.

FreckledLeopard Thu 23-Jul-15 20:31:50

Thank you so much. Reassuring to know it's not all doom and gloom!

Tanfastic Thu 23-Jul-15 21:06:12

There are quite a few reasons for the cause of vertigo, most are not sinister.

I suffer from BPV. Never been formally diagnosed but I've had it for years and know what positions triggers it (lying deadly flat being the main one!).

SummerHouse Thu 23-Jul-15 21:14:42

Meionaires disease is not very nice but not serious or life threatening. Sorry about the spelling. There are current suggestions that it can be managed to an extent by salt or potassium levels. It causes the sufferer to sometimes drop to the floor as you describe. Could it be that?

SummerHouse Thu 23-Jul-15 21:16:16

Meniere's disease

hesterton Thu 23-Jul-15 21:18:24

I had this as a child but was not really believed. The spins were extraordinary! I remember struggling to walk upright at times and turning my head in bed could result in very powerful sense of whizzing in circles. It went away on its own in the end although when I'm very tired I can get a very mild version back for an hour or two.

Not sure if that's helpful - this happened when I was about 8. I'm in my 50s now.

SwearyBear Thu 23-Jul-15 22:27:16

I've had similar symptoms on and off for 15 years, comes and goes. Initially thought to be meniere's but there was no deterioration so latest consultant diagnosed vestibular migraine.

FreckledLeopard Fri 24-Jul-15 09:29:16

I think Meniere's has further symptoms though and the diziness is more than two or three seconds at a time?

Glad to know there are people who've had similar things and that they're all ok. Still worrying a lot though. DP has eye appointment today, to rule out anything associated with optics, then back to GP for referral to neurologist next week.

BooYouWhore Fri 24-Jul-15 09:53:33

You're right- Menieres is usually accompanied by hearing loss. It does sound like BPPV which is the most common cause of vertigo symptoms but as you say the GP has ruled this out.... have they tried any head movements on your DP (Epleys Manouvre) to test or ruled out on symptoms alone?
A referral to an ENT consultant may be useful.
If there is nothing found on investigation with Neurologist/ENT then a referral to a good vestibular physiotherapist also an option.

I hope it gets sorted- vertigo symptoms are debilitating.

FreckledLeopard Fri 24-Jul-15 10:02:01

They did the Epleys Manoeuvre and ruled it out. Additionally, there's never been any type of consistent position that triggers the vertigo - sometimes she's looking up, sometimes down, sometimes not moving her head at all.

Good to know about the vestibular physiotherapist. Would a good chiropractor help if the neurologist finds nothing?

Tanfastic Fri 24-Jul-15 16:10:48

The fact it can trigger symptoms by not moving at all is odd however I am convinced mine is BPV as it is triggered by me lying flat, looking extreme downwards or extremely upwards. If I remain vertical all is well and I still drive.

I had to do a first aid course recently which involved lots of lying down role play, was a nightmare confused. Also my dentist checks my teeth without the chair right back.

I think the best you can do is get to the bottom of it with a good ENT specialist.

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