Dr. Laura Foster
103-2200 Fairview St
Burlington, On L7R 4H9
BPPV – this is a very common cause of vertigo (dizziness)
BPPV stands for:
B – Benign (meaning not worrisome)
P – Positional (meaning the vertigo is caused by the changing position, for example)
P – Paroxysmal (meaning that it comes and goes, it is not constant)
V – Vertigo (the sensation that the room is spinning)
When to see a doctor
Generally, see your doctor if you experience any unexplained dizziness or vertigo that recurs periodically for more than one week
Often, there's no known cause for BPPV. This is called idiopathic BPPV.
When a cause can be determined, BPPV is often associated with a minor to severe blow to your head. Less common causes of BPPV include disorders that damage your inner ear or, rarely, damage that occurs during ear surgery or during prolonged positioning on your back, such as in a dentist chair. BPPV also has been associated with migraines.
The ear's role
Inside your ear is a tiny organ called the vestibular labyrinth. It includes three loop-shaped structures (semicircular canals) that contain fluid and fine, hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of your head.
Other structures (otolith organs) in your ear monitor movements of your head — up and down, right and left, back and forth — and your head's position related to gravity. These otolith organs contain crystals that make you sensitive to gravity.
For a variety of reasons, these crystals can become dislodged. When they become dislodged, they can move into one of the semicircular canals — especially while you're lying down. This causes the semicircular canal to become sensitive to head position changes it would normally not respond to, which is what makes you feel dizzy.
Here is a great video that explains BPPV