Vertigo is a special kind of dizziness that feels like spinning.
Peripheral vertigo is a term that collects together the inner ear causes.
The labyrinth of the inner ear has tiny organs that enable messages to be sent to the brain in response to gravity. By telling our brains when there is movement from the vertical position, we are able to keep our balance, to maintain equilibrium.
Disturbance to this system, therefore, produces vertigo and can be created by inflammation among other causes. Viral infection is the inflammation seen in the following two conditions:
Ménière’s disease can also be caused by inflammation, but this can be due to bacterial as well as viral infection.This form of vertigo is thought to be caused by the high pressure of a fluid in a compartment of the inner ear (a swelling that is also known as endolymphatic hydrops).
As well as infection, Ménière’s disease can result from metabolic and immune disorders.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is thought to be caused by a disturbance in the otolith particles.
These are the crystals of calcium carbonate within inner ear fluid that pull on sensory hair cells during movement and so stimulate the vestibular nerve to send positional information to the brain.
In people with BPPV, normal movement of the endolymph fluid continues after head movement has stopped.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is twice as common in women than men, usually, affects older people and most often arises without a known cause (idiopathic). While most cases are spontaneous, BPPV vertigo can also follow:
Beyond peripheral vertigo brought on by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuronitis or Ménière’s disease, inner ear disturbance can also be caused by drug toxicity and syphilis.
Rare causes are: perilymphatic fistula (tear in one or both of the membranes separating the middle and inner ear), cholesteatoma erosion (skin growth behind the eardrum), Herpes zoster oticus (a viral infection of the ear, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome), otosclerosis (a genetic ear bone problem that causes deafness).