Vertigo is a condition characterized by the sensation that comes with feeling off-balance. The sensations come like spinning dizzy spells where you feel like everything around you is spinning or you’re the one spinning. There are several causes of vertigo. Most cases are due to inner ear complications.
If you have vertigo, some of the probable causes of this condition may include issues like; Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, or vestibular neuritis. Usually, your primary doctor or general practitioner may diagnose your vertigo and treat it if it’s a mild one.
According to what we heard from entspecialistsingapore.com, a referral to an ENT Doctor would be necessary if your condition is complicated and needs a thorough assessment. An ENT specialist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ear, nose, and throat diseases.
Can an ENT Specialist help with Vertigo?
Vertigo sensation may happen so infrequently, meaning that you may not immediately notice the changes in your sense of balance. Nonetheless, it may also be dangerous, meaning that there may be a need to take care of it as soon as possible. Since Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists get training on managing disorders of the nose, throat, and ear, they are qualified to manage balance problems; therefore, an ENT can help with vertigo.
When you see your ENT doctor for vertigo, you will need to expound on how you feel so they may know what type of vertigo you’re dealing with. This is important because not all cases of vertigo are the same.
For instance, if you are feeling like it is just your surrounding that’s spinning, but you remain still, you could be dealing with a case of objective vertigo. If you feel like you’re the one who is moving, you could be dealing with what is known as subjective vertigo.
How does an ENT Test for Vertigo?
Vertigo is, in most cases, triggered by a change in position of the head. If you have vertigo, you may experience symptoms like swaying, spinning, feeling unbalanced, tilting, and sensations of being pulled to one direction.
The other symptoms that may accompany your vertigo include; vomiting, nausea, hearing loss or ringing in the ear, abnormal eye movements, sweating, and headache. Depending on the severity of your condition, they may last for a few hours or even more. Vertigo can also be severe.
Therefore, if you have been getting these symptoms for 24 to 48 hours, and it is so severe that you vomit frequently or cannot maintain your balance entirely, you should schedule a quick appointment with your ENT doctor.
They will ask you a few questions which may touch on the medications you’re currently using, your symptoms and run essential tests to diagnose your vertigo and get it under control. An ENT can test for vertigo through a physical exam where they will assess your balance, the way you walk, and most importantly, how major nerves in your CNS (Central Nervous System) work.
An ENT can also test for vertigo by helping you undergo balance tests and hearing tests. Some of the tests you can expect in this case include;
- Rotary Chair Testing: This test involves the use of a computer-controlled chair. This chair moves in a full circle but very slowly. At faster speeds, it is guided to move back and forth in a small arc.
- Head Movement Testing: Your ENT doctor may recommend head movement testing if they suspect that your vertigo may be due to Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). For your head movement testing, your ENT specialist may only want you to do a test known as the Dix-Hallpike maneuver. It is simple and may only be needed to help in verifying your diagnosis.
- Eye Movement Testing: For this test, your ENT doctor may need to watch your eye’s path as you track an object in motion. You may also be given the eye motion test where air or water may be placed in the ear canal.
- Posturography: This test helps your doctor determine the parts of your balance system that you mostly rely on and the parts that may be causing your problems. If the doctor recommends this test, you will be given a platform where you will need to stand on your bare feet. You will be required to maintain your balance in different conditions.
Other than these exams, your ENT doctor may also administer blood tests to check if you have an infection. You may also get specialized tests to check your blood vessel and heart health.
There are varied approaches in treating vertigo that your ENT specialist may choose to use depending on your condition. This is important because vertigo is not always a condition but may be a manifestation of something else.
For example, you may experience vertigo due to vestibular migraines, inner ear infections, and in some cases, too much ear wax that pushes against your tympanic membrane or eardrums. With that being said, your ENT doctor may choose to help you manage the condition by treating your symptoms or the underlying condition and surgery if necessary. Real quick, here’s a summary of what you can expect depending on the treatment approach favored by the ENT specialist.
- Managing symptoms: In most cases, the vertigo symptoms that patients report are due to viral infections. You can manage the virus by waiting for it to burn itself out and only take medication to suppress the vertigo symptoms. The ENT specialist may also recommend and demonstrate a few exercises that may help with your symptoms.
- Managing the underlying condition: This treatment will be recommended after your doctor has diagnosed the cause of your vertigo. For instance, if your vertigo symptoms are due to migraines, the doctor may recommend treatment for migraines. Similarly, if it’s due to issues like Meniere’s disease, you may only need to observe your diet.
- Surgery in your inner ear: Surgery in your inner ear may be necessary if your vertigo is so severe that you cannot live a normal life. Usually, it may be recommended as the last resort if you have not found success managing your vertigo with other treatment options.
An ENT doctor can treat vertigo. The treatment may depend on the cause of your vertigo.