Sorry this is a bit long, but it’s 16 years of info crammed into a few paragraphs~
I’m a 32 y/o male, and have had issues with dizziness dating back to high school. It would come and go, to varying degrees. It started in 10th grade, with hours long episodic dizziness every 3-6 months. During these episodes, the room would spin, and then I’d be left with disequilibrium for days to weeks later, or sometime I’d feel perfectly fine the next day. At one point, in maybe 11th grade, I recall having a period of about 4-6 months where I was “dizzy.” This is what I would tell my parents/doctors, and they said, “you have allergies” or “it’s just anxiety.” Repeatedly they put me on anxiety drugs(!). Amazingly, I don’t recall them ever testing anything, other than trying the epley maneuver. Without fail, being constantly dizzy makes one anxious, so I don’t recall what came first, but I have, indeed, had diagnosable anxiety for years, and in the early years, I also blamed anxiety. Moving forward, I don’t recall having any major issues between the several years I was in college in Philadelphia, until sometime during my senior year, I had a dizzy episode while hiking with a friend. It lasted several hours, and that was that. So I went maybe 4 years without major problems. Up to this point, we’ll say 16- 24, my only symptom was dizziness/disequilibrium.
In 2012 I moved to Chicago, and sometime during that year I began to have what I referred to as “brain fog” on and off that would last hours and was only relieved by intense exercise, and then I started noticing that my ears were always full, and I was constantly yawning to try and clear them. I mentioned this to my GP in the summer of 2012, and he said all was clear in my ears. So, I was like - “okay…” In 2013 I woke up one Saturday and was reading in bed and turned to grab something and ended up in a dizzy spell that was so bad, I immediately started vomiting because the room was spinning so bad, and went to er. They gave me a benzo and some meclizine and gradually things improved over the course of several hours, and I went home.
I had a couple other episodes within the next few years.
In 2015, I started having some mild ringing in my ears, which I originally assumed was the result of going to see a concert and having not worn proper hearing protection. It never went away, and so when I began to google my symptoms (vertigo, ears full, tinnitus), and then went to an ENT, I was told initially I likely had Meniere’s Disease, but my audiogram was fine, and the doctor did no testing. My own research had informed me that he couldn’t make a diagnosis without more evidence, so I went to a different doctor who did an ENT Test (with air). I came back to see him a few weeks later, and he said he thought everything was fine. So I went along with my life.
In the spring 2016, I had 2 or 3 pretty bad episodes, and by this time I had moved, so I saw another ENT, who did an MRI, and checked out the lab work from Chicago, and he concluded that I may/may not have Meniere’s, but again, my hearing was fine, so he was uncertain. I got busy with life, and ignored it the best I could.
Spring 2016 - spring 2017, I’ve pretty consistently had issues, often feeling off-balance when I walk, short burst of dizziness that last 10-60 seconds (sometimes longer), days where I have disequilibrium all day, continued ear fullness and ringing (more recently a low tone ringing, along with the high tones).
On May 1 I went to see Dr. Furman at UPMC Pittsburgh, and their clinic had me come in at 8am and they did a battery of tests in one day. Hearing Test, ENG, Rotational Chair, and VEMP test, and then I had a consultation with Dr. Furman in the afternoon.
My hearing test was fine, but some of the other tests were NOT normal, and he said that my tests show very clearly a diagnosis of Vestibular Migraines. He said my clinical work does NOT indicate, in any way, Meniere’s. He’s worked with Meniere’s patients for 35 years, and I don’t have it. That said, he indicated there is some crossover, but my tests show classic Migraine dizziness.
Ok so that is that. I am going to have a follow up with the Dr soon, but as of now, he said I could modify my diet for migraine triggers. I asked what to do if I feel like I’m getting an attack, and he said, “well if it’s only happening 3-4x a year, then probably nothing.” I was kinda out of it that day, and didn’t follow up with enough questions, so here are some questions:
- Medication? Abortive medication when I feel an attack coming on or days I’m feeling off balance? Doc seemed to brush this off, but there has to be something I can take?
**- Vestibular rehab at all beneficial? **
- Where to start with diet? I ate Pizza last night and was dizzy all morning this am, with ears plugged up and louder tinnitus? My job is physical and man it’s tough to work on days like today. luckily I was off today
- supplements? I just started a very high quality probiotic and multivitamin
- weather? I live in Pittsburgh. It’s ALWAYS wet and rainy. I’m convinced things have gotten progressively worse since I moved here… Should I move to Colorado or somewhere dry!?
- In the manual on this website it suggests NOT taking ibuprofen? Can someone explain?
- I do get headaches, but they seem entirely unrelated to the dizziness, so I’m havnig some trouble believe the relationship between “migraine” and “dizziness”. Can someone help clarify this for me?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read/respond.