Symptoms and Treatments for Otolithiasis Vertigo

Health / Life

Woman suffering from dizziness while driving / Photo by Getty Images


Otolithiasis is an inner problem or a functional disorder of kinesthetic sense and physical balance. It is often the culprit of repeated vertigo episodes that can last for seconds. It often occurs along with position changes, such as rolling over in the bed, looking upward, and bending over. 

About 80% of vertigo cases or severe dizziness are caused by the otolithiasis or the moving calcium crystals in the ear.

How does Otolithiasis Occur?

In a normal setting, the calcium particles sit on the membrane in the utricle - an organ located in the vertebrate inner ear. The membrane and these microscopic particles help maintain a normal balance. When the calcium particles in the inner ear fall into the semicircular canal of the inner ear, this is called otolithiasis. It can happen to a patient even if they have no history of head trauma.

That is why patients with otolithiasis feel brief episodes of head-spinning or room spinning because the particles move within the canal as position alters.


Man's head is spinning / Photo by Getty Images


What is the Cause of Otolithiasis

The moving calcium is the cause of otolithiasis. Some reports also explain that the functional disorder is associated with internal calcium metabolism and since women have less calcium compared to men, the otolithiasis is experienced more by female patients, especially those suffering from osteoporosis.

Older people also have a higher chance of experiencing the functional disorder because their oto-vestibular is also getting older.


Older people with osteoporosis are more prone to having otolithiasis  / Photo by Getty Images


What Involves Otolithiasis Self Diagnosis and ENT Clinic Visit?

As part of the otolithiasis self-diagnosis, you may suddenly feel dizzy or your body is losing a sense of balance. The first idea that may come into your mind is to visit a specialist of neurosurgery or internal medicine. In reality, visiting the ENT clinic is a wiser move.

During your ENT clinic visit, doctors will have to check your eyes first through the magnifying glasses if the pupils are dilating or contracting randomly. Pupils movement are then studied due to the link between eyes and ears in the balancing mechanism of the body.


Old lady having an eye check up / Photo by Getty Images


What is the Treatment for Otolithiasis?

The treatment for otolithiasis is simple. The patient should immediately stay still or remain in an upright position that moment they feel dizzy. Then, in a few minutes, the symptoms will already disappear.   The otolithiasis symptoms commonly appear because the moving stones have to be placed back into the original position. 

The remedy is by gradually moving the head. However, there are times when doctors have to directly put back the stones. 

The doctor may also advise patients to avoid strong head impact or activities that involve intense-head shaking.


Woman resting her head in the wall to let the dizziness go away / Photo by Getty Images


Good Food for Otolithiasis and Healthy Diet to Maintain

The patients are often advised to maintain a low-sodium diet and restrict cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine. As part of the low sodium-diet or list of good food for otolithiasis, include protein found in shellfish, fresh fish, low-sodium frozen dinner, dairy products, such as low-sodium cheese, vegetables, and fruits. As a tip, consider low-sodium tomato juice or vegetable juice.

The patients are also recommended to take plenty of rest and stop overworking. 


Fresh dairy products / Photo by Getty Images


What is the Right Otolithiasis Exercise to Adopt?

If vertigo comes from the left ear, the otolithiasis exercise to adopt is the Epley Maneuver. To do the Epley Maneuver, sit on the edge of the bed. Put the pillow under you so that the moment you lie down, the pillow will rest between your shoulders. Lie down quickly on your back and wait for 30 seconds so vertigo will stop. Turn your head 90 degrees towards the right but don’t raise it. Wait again for 30 seconds. Turn your body and head this time to the right so that you are looking at the floor. Then, slowly sit up, but just remain on your bed for a few more minutes.

Do the reverse otolithiasis exercise if vertigo comes from the right ear. The doctor may also advise for a Semont Maneuver, Half-Somersault or Foster Maneuver, or the Brandt-Daroff exercise.


Semont manuever position / Photo by