The commonest cause for this is vertiginous migraine. Some studies have reported an incidence of migraine in over 30% of women in their 30’s.
Symptoms are either described as spinning vertigo or feeling off balance. Some patients feel ‘disconnected’ with their surroundings. Others have described ‘walking on sponge’.
Most people immediately think of headache when migraine is mentioned, and headache is usually present at the time of, or shortly after, the dizziness starts. In a small group of patients however the headache is unrelated to the times when their balance is affected. Other features of migraine often occur such as visual changes, vomiting, – and in extreme cases- limb weakness or facial droop.
Hearing loss is rare but some patients describe a ringing in the ears. Loud noise and bright lights make the symptoms worse and patients tend to look for a quiet dark room to lie down in until symptoms pass. This form of dizziness is more common in women and may be associated with certain points of the menstrual cycle.
Fluorescant strip lighting may produce an attack and many patients describe them as occurring in brightly lit shops such as supermarkets.
The episodes of dizziness can last from a few minutes to several days and vary greatly in their frequency.
One of the frustrating aspects of vertiginous migraine is the wide range of symptoms that can occur with this condition and the varying degree to which different people are affected. In the past this has meant that many sufferers have been incorrectly diagnosed with other conditions and so have continued to suffer until sent to a specialist in balance disorders.
Treatment starts with getting the right diagnosis and looking for triggers. In some patients simply eliminating triggers such as certain food types can keep symptoms at bay without the need for medications.
In most patients however management consists of avoiding triggers together with medication. Each patient is different and so treatment needs to be customized to the patient rather than vice versa.
If you would like to arrange a consultation with Mr Banerjee to look into this condition further please contact us. You can also find more information about balance disorders at the Balance Doctor website.