Dizziness, Headache, and Nausea in Teengirl

My daughter has had a headache, nausea and increasingly worse dizziness since February 9th. She has missed so much school that she is going to go on a special school plan so she can finish her year. We have gone from a regular neurologist to Dr. Cherchi (Hain’s associate) to a Children’s Hospital neurologist with migraine experience and we have done the testing. She is normal according to the tests. We do have migraines in the family so I researched and came to my own diagnosis - this panel’s subject - migraine with dizziness.

Currently she is taking Effexor 37.5mg and Topamax 50 mg. Her psychiatrist though to add nortriptyline at night to help her sleep. She gave us a presciption for 25 mg to break in half without knowing that it is a capsule! We have a call into her for tomorrow so she can represcribe 10 mg instead.

Reading the stories you all have posted is very disheartening. I think she was so stressed out that she brought this illness on her body subconsciously but will she be ok ever? I am crying for her as she misses out on so much. Some of your posting have made me doubt the Dizziness Clinic and I am scared for my sweet girl. Does anyone think that Effexor, Topamax and nortriptyline will work? She can’t take Prozac or Lexapro due to racing head feelings. Cymbalta did nothing.

Thank you for any help.


There is a lady on here “Mamabear” who’s son was going through similiar situation. I am not sure, but I think he’s around 14. Don’t quote me…he missed a lot of school and has gotten much better with medication. Pretty much back to normal.
The meds that are prescribed are definitely the ones that most likely get prescribed for this situation. She, like the rest of us, will have to test them to see how they work with her chemistry. Dr. Cherchi is supposed to be quite good, and his partner, Dr. Hain is considered one of the best in the country…I saw him myself. His website is very helpful as well.
How is she faring on the current meds? Any side effects or is it fairly easy so far?


I know it has to be upsetting when it’s your kid dealing with something instead of yourself. I actually have worried about having more kids myself in fear that they could have what I have since it is supposedly genetic. I pray my son doesn’t get it. My mom has had migraines her whole life so bad to where she would go to the hospital in the middle of the night and they would have to give her shots because the pain was so bad. For me I have no actual migraine, just dizziness, nausea, anxiety (from all of this crap) and the occasional headache. Mine didn’t start until about 4 years ago (when I was 24). My sister just recently at 13 years old has started having the severe dizzy spells and has missed a lot of school. She hasn’t had any testing done yet or been to the doctor but is going soon. Do you have a disability note from her doctor for school? If not, you should look into getting one. It should help with special accommodations for her…like excused absences, longer test time, etc. Just stay positive, I know it’s hard. She just has to find the right combination of medicine. Keep us updated on her progress. Wishing you the best.

Teengirl, this is Mamabear. My son (I call him the Kid here) is 15. His MAV started on the last Wednesday of September last year. His pediatrician thought it was an ear infection. A week later, it wasn’t better, so we went back to the pediatrician, who sent him to an ENT. The ENT said the problem wasn’t in the ear, it was in the brain. We took him to a neurologist – the first neurologist was awful, so we found another neurologist.

The second neurologist was wonderful. She diagnosed him with vertiginous migraine (same thing as MAV, just putting the emphasis on the migraine instead of the vertigo) and started him on medication. By this time, it was the end of November. We were very, very lucky that we got him seen by someone good, and got him diagnosed so quickly.

The neurologist wanted him to start back to school a little at a time as he could tolerate it. But while he was dizzy, he couldn’t tolerate it. Not at all. He couldn’t walk without holding onto something or someone. He started walking with a cane. The school offered home instruction, but he couldn’t think straight – that was the hardest thing for him, the “brain fog.”

From the end of September, for about three months, he hardly did anything. He stayed on the couch in the living room or on the bed in his room. He didn’t go to school. He didn’t hang out with friends. He surfed the web some, and watched videos some, and he ate and slept. And that’s about it.

We just sort of held on for the ride, tweaked the meds. Slowly, things got better. He started doing VRT and physical therapy (the MAV, for him, included right-sided ataxia, which caused right-sided weakness; the therapy was critical for him).

By the end of January, he was going to school again. He hangs out with friends after school again. He bickers with his brother. He complains about homework.

Getting back to school, and getting active again, has been totally at his pace. When we tried to push him, it didn’t help. IN fact, I think it made things worse. He WANTED to get his life back. As soon as he could, he threw himself back into it.

Our neurolgoist told us that three months is pretty much the minimum for getting someone with MAV functional again. At two months (where your daughter is now), things were still awful for my son. I was frightened and worried, and so was he.

But it’s okay now. He’s missed some credits in school that he’ll have to make up one way or another. But it’s going to be all right.

And I’m sure your daughter will be all right, too. Hang in there.