What Causes Vertigo in Children?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Sometimes, your children are standing still but feel like they are moving or spinning. This feeling is called vertigo. Vertigo can cause great discomforts. Most of the time, vertigo is not a sign of a serious health problem.

Comprehending the balance system

The inner ear plays an important role in helping the body remain its balance. The inner ear senses the position and motion of the head and the body. It also works with other parts of the body such as the eyes. The body depends on the inner ear for balance signs. Signals sent to the brain from the inner ear, eyes, and other areas keep the body stay balanced.

What results in vertigo?

The exact cause of vertigo is not always explainable. But if children have an inner ear problem, the brain may be receiving the wrong signals. This can cause vertigo. These are the most common causes of inner ear problems in children:
−Things that lead to congestion (such as colds, allergies, or a sinus infection). This causes the fluid backup through the Eustachian tube linking the ear to the sinuses.
Labyrinthitis is a condition caused by a viral infection of the labyrinth (a part of the inner ear).
−Closed head injury. Occasionally, children can damage their inner ear structures when suffering a head injury, resulting in vertigo. Sometimes, the inner ear will remain intact but a head injury may be accompanied by a concussion, which can create symptoms including dizziness or vertigo.
Meniere’s disease. This is a syndrome in which the body produces an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear causing episodes of vertigo linked to ringing in the ears and hearing loss. This is rare but it can happen in children.
−Benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood.  Symptoms include the unexpected sensations of spinning, loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting. These episodes may reoccur several times a month for several years, often going away by the age of eight.
−Migraine. There is a particular migraine referred to as basilar artery migraine that can cause both a headache and vertigo. Vertigo usually improves when the headache improves.

How can vertigo be diagnosed?

The pediatricians will ask about your child’s general health and symptoms. This is the main way vertigo is diagnosed. Your child will also be tested, particular the head and ears. There is not a particular test to diagnose vertigo. In some cases, doctors do tests to rule out other health problems including CT or MRI of the brain.

How will vertigo be treated?

Vertigo will often improve on its own without treatment. If an inner ear problem causes vertigo, the pediatrician may prescribe medications. They can help your child’s balance system get better. The most common medications include:
−Antihistamines to cure inner ear problems
−Motion sickness medicine (if needed)
−Antibiotics, antivirals, or steroids if an ear infection is doubted
Children should avoid activities requiring balancing or coordination until vertigo goes away. These activities include skateboarding, riding a bike or scooter, roller skating, or driving.

When to seek medical help?

Call the pediatrician immediately if you notice any of the following:
−Recurrent or prolonged episodes of vertigo
−Serious vertigo (your child cannot move)
−Vertigo accompanied by another problem such as ear ringing, ear pain, headache, ear stuffiness, or hearing loss
−The child seems confused or is not acting themselves.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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