3 Ways Allergies Can Cause Vertigo

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are probably all too familiar with symptoms of sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and a scratchy throat. While these are the most common symptoms of allergies, other less common symptoms may occur.

One of these symptoms includes vertigo. Unlike normal dizziness, vertigo can make you feel as though the room is spinning. In addition to a whirling sensation, vertigo can lead to nausea, vomiting, abnormal eye movements, and falling. Here are three ways your allergies can worsen vertigo, and what you can do about them:

Fluid Build Up

When you have allergies, not only does fluid build up in your nasal passages and sometimes your eyes, but it can also accumulate inside your ears. If the fluid or your inner ear becomes infected, it can lead to a condition known as labyrinthitis.

This condition refers to a disorder that causes inflammation of the inner ear and surrounding nerves known as vestibular nerves. Signs of labyrinthitis may include balance problems, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, and sometimes hearing loss. While labyrinthitis can sometimes resolve without treatment, you may feel off-balance for weeks.

If your vertigo fails to resolve, taking antihistamines, avoiding caffeine, increasing your water intake, and taking decongestants may help eliminate inner ear fluid. As the fluid in your ear decreases, vertigo will usually subside as well. 

Eye Problems

Allergies often cause itchy, watery eyes, as well as blurred vision. When you have vertigo, you are prone to abnormal eye movements known as nystagmus. These abnormal rapid eye movements can worsen in the presence of irritated eyes, which can exacerbate vertigo and nausea.

Using over-the-counter eye drops can help soothe irritated eyes, as can applying warm compresses over your eyes. Taking your allergy medications as prescribed by your doctor can also help reduce eye symptoms. If your doctor has not prescribed allergy medications, non-prescription diphenhydramine may help stop your eyes from tearing and itching. Once these symptoms subside, you may notice a reduction in vertigo episodes.     

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Allergies can cause a significant amount of fluid to accumulate inside your ears. When the tubes inside your ears fail to drain fluid properly, it can cause pressure on your eardrum and earache. In addition, eustachian tube blockage can cause hearing deficits, popping or clicking sounds, muffled hearing, and balance problems.

It can also lead to severe vertigo, problems with your equilibrium, and in severe cases, rupture of the eardrum. If your symptoms are caused by an allergy-related bacterial infection, your doctor may recommend a course or oral antibiotics.

Conversely, if your symptoms are caused by a viral infection, antibiotics will be of little use. Antihistamines, oral decongestants, and certain nasal sprays can help drain ear fluid while equalizing pressure. These intervention will help improve your spinning sensations and may also help reduce your risk for secondary infections. 

If you develop sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, vertigo, earache, or post nasal drip, see your physician, who may recommend that your undergo allergy testing. When the offending allergen is identified, effective treatment options can be implemented to help relieving your symptoms.