Vestibular Neuritis is an extremely disabling form of dizziness. It causes intense spinning dizziness (rotational vertigo) with nausea vomiting, sweating and sometimes diarrohea. It tends to come on suddenly, often on waking. Patients find that the worst symptoms last for a few hours.
Following this, lying completely still in bed may be enough to relieve the dizziness but any form of head movement causes a flurry of symptoms to recur. A much less common variant of this condition is Labyrinthitis. This is an inner ear infection with the same balance symptoms but also causes deafness and ringing in the affected ear.
Most patients can get back on their feet after a day or two but progress can be extremely slow, lasting weeks or even months. The majority of patients will eventually get back to normal but for an unlucky few, they continue to feel slightly off balance. This is usually due to a lack of 'central compensation' by the brain.
Although drugs such as prochlorperazine can be given in the acute phase of the illness to relieve the sickness, these should be stopped after 2-3 days to allow the brain to start the balance system repairs. If these powerful anti sickness drugs are continued it can significantly hamper long term resolution of symptoms.
Patients who continue to have symptoms months later often benefit from seeing a balance specialist to gain a diagnosis and start a course of treatment to restore balance function. Invariably this treatment does not require medications.
For those patients unfortunate enough to have recurrent episodes of vestibular neuritis, correct diagnosis is crucial to providing effective management of future episodes. Some patients will go on to develop Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo ( see 'Dizziness looking up or rolling over')
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.