Rotary vertigo

After waltzing, a ride on the merry-go-round or (possibly increased) consumption of alcohol, it can happen that everything revolves around you. However, if you have a feeling of dizziness that has no apparent cause, you should become alert. Especially if the dizziness occurs regularly and lasts for a long time. There are many forms of vertigo, one of which is the so-called rotary vertigo. In our ENT practice in Berlin Charlottenburg, we regularly treat patients who suffer from it.

What is rotary vertigo?

If you feel like everything around you is spinning clockwise or counterclockwise, you probably suffer from spinning vertigo. It is one of the most common types of vertigo. Rotational vertigo classically occurs spontaneously and unpredictably. It can last a few seconds, several minutes, hours and even days. Often the cause is a disturbance of the vestibular system in the ear.

Rotary vertigo: Two subtypes

Attack rotary vertigo

If the dizziness occurs suddenly and violently and lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes, it is called attack rotary vertigo or seizure-like rotary vertigo. In addition to the strong spinning sensation, in which the affected person feels whirled around, nausea and a pronounced tendency to fall often accompany it. Patients turn pale and break out in a sweat. During the vertigo attack, the eyes often show a rapid muscle movement called nystagmus. Sometimes patients have a feeling of pressure on the ears and/or hearing problems. This may be the case in Meniere’s disease. Here, attack-like rotary vertigo is a symptom of the disease. Attack-like rotary vertigo can also occur in vestibular migraine (vertigo migraine).

Persistent rotary vertigo

If the spinning dizziness lasts for several hours or even days, physicians refer to this as “persistent rotary vertigo.” Again, nausea, vomiting, and eye tremors (nystagmus) are common, as is a tendency to fall. The causes of persistent rotary vertigo usually lie in a functional disorder of the vestibular organ. This can be, for example, an inflamed vestibular nerve (neuropathia vestibularis). This causes the organ of balance to fail on one side. More rarely, circulatory disorders, the failure of nerves in the brain or a brain tumor are to blame for persistent spinning dizziness.

Rotary vertigo and Meniere’s disease

Rotary vertigo may be associated with Meniere’s disease. This is a disease of the inner ear that is accompanied by both a strong, attack-like feeling of dizziness and hearing loss and ringing in the ears – usually in one ear. Meniere’s disease often also triggers a general feeling of illness, nausea and vomiting during the attack. Affected individuals also often have a tendency to fall down. In an acute attack of rotary vertigo, sufferers exhibit a horizontally rotating nystagmus. The eyes circle horizontally to the affected side and then move to the unaffected side.

This is referred to as a symptom triad in relation to Meniere’s disease:

  • Repeated attacks of rotary vertigo
  • A hearing loss noted on at least one examination
  • Tinnitus and/or a feeling of pressure in the affected ear

The triggers for this symptomatic vertigo in Meniere’s disease have not been clearly established scientifically. Scientists suspect an increased accumulation of fluid in the inner ear and the organ of balance. This stretches the membranes of the inner ear. The increased pressure can even cause them to tear. Fluid accumulation in the inner ear or skull is also possible. Other possible causes are viral infections, a lack of blood supply or allergic reactions.

Rotary vertigo: diagnosis and therapy

In order to distinguish rotary vertigo from other forms of vertigo, we take a detailed medical history in our ENT practice in Berlin. We ask you about the course, onset and triggering factors of your vertigo and perform ENT technical examinations including hearing tests. Clinical, instrument-based examinations may also be used, e.g. blood pressure measurement and ECG (both also over 24 hours), otoscopy, tuning fork test, nystagmus test. In case of doubt, a differential diagnosis is made to exclude other diseases.

The rotary vertigo can be treated in different ways: e.g. by the vertigo therapy or by the administration of medicines ( homeopathic and natural medicines can also be used here). If the rotary vertigo is based on another disease (e.g. inflammation, effects of blood pressure, problems of the cervical spine), this should be treated – possibly in cooperation with medical colleagues.

Make an appointment for the treatment of rotary vertigo

HNO Berlin Schwindel

Are you suffering from unusual, sudden or recurring rotary vertigo? Please feel free to make an appointment with vertigo expert Dr. med. Kathrin Ernst (ENT specialist) for examination and therapy.

Appointments by telephone arrangement, also outside our consultation hours: 030.310 138 40

Consultation hours

Mon 9 a.m.-13 p.m. 15-18 p.m.
Tue 9 a.m.-13 p.m.
Wed 9 a.m.-13 p.m.
Thu 11 a.m.-13 p.m. 15-18 p.m.
HNO Berlin – HNO Charlottenburg – Dr. Kathrin Ernst