My Antacid Was Causing BPPV Vertigo

What is Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) ?

BPPV stands for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is usually triggered by specific changes in the position of your head. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.

Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be a bothersome problem, it’s rarely serious except when it increases the chance of falls. You can receive effective treatment for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo during a doctor’s office visit.

Symptoms of BPPV Vertigo

The signs and symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may include:

  • Dizziness
  • A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The signs and symptoms of BPPV can come and go, with symptoms commonly lasting less than one minute. Episodes of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can disappear for some time and then recur.

Activities that bring about the signs and symptoms of BPPV can vary from person to person, but are almost always brought on by a change in the position of your head. Some people also feel out of balance when standing or walking.

Abnormal rhythmic eye movements (nystagmus) usually accompany the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

When to see a doctor for Vertigo

Generally, see your doctor if you experience any recurrent, sudden, severe, or prolonged and unexplained dizziness or vertigo.

Seek emergency care

Although it’s uncommon for dizziness to signal a serious illness, see your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following:

  • A new, different or severe headache
  • A fever
  • Double vision or loss of vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Trouble speaking
  • Leg or arm weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Falling or difficulty walking
  • Numbness or tingling

Causes of BPPV Vertigo

Inner ear and balance

Inner ear and balance

Often, there’s no known cause for BPPV. This is called idiopathic BPPV.

When a cause can be determined, BPPV is often associated with a minor to severe blow to your head. Less common causes of BPPV include disorders that damage your inner ear or, rarely, damage that occurs during ear surgery or during prolonged positioning on your back, such as in a dentist chair. BPPV also has been associated with migraines.

The ear’s role

Inside your ear is a tiny organ called the vestibular labyrinth. It includes three loop-shaped structures (semicircular canals) that contain fluid and fine, hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of your head.

Other structures (otolith organs) in your ear monitor movements of your head — up and down, right and left, back and forth — and your head’s position related to gravity. These otolith organs contain crystals made of Calcium Carbonate that make you sensitive to gravity.

These crystals usually stick together. But for a variety of reasons, these crystals can become dislodged. When they become dislodged, they can move into one of the semicircular canals — especially while you’re lying down. This causes the semicircular canal to become sensitive to head position changes it would normally not respond to, which is what makes you feel dizzy.

Now let’s talk about my BPPV Vertigo story

It’s been an year since I started having these BPPV Vertigo attacks. In 99% of the cases this is happening to me yearly in the morning (4:00 to 6:00 AM) when I’m sleeping better and my heartbeat is at it’s lowest – or around 55BPM.

While sleeping in my bed, I’m suddenly awakened from my sleep by a huge sensation of spinning or falling from my bed. I grab the mattress hard with my hands so I don’t fall of bed.

My eyes are spinning hard and I can’t feel which way is left, right, up or down. I feel the bed is falling trough the floor, I can’t control myself and I’m breathing loud and prepare to die, because that’s how it’s felt, like an imminent death.

While laying down on my back with my face up, after 30 seconds, I am able to move my head from left to the right and slow the spinning a bit. Even remembering this makes me feeling dizzy a bit. My BPPV comes from the left year so moving from the left or from back to the right side helps me slow it.

I fight for half an hour to be able to get up from bed using my right side just like in the last half of the Epley maneuver for the left year.

I’m up, and while still a bit dizzy, the spinning vertigo is gone. As long as I’m keeping my head in the upright position and move slowly like a turtle. For the next 3 to 7 nights I will not be able to sleep in the bed again. I will now sleep by staying sitted with my head in the upright position, supported by pillows, on the couch.

Now that the BPPV vertigo episode started it can happen at any time for about 2 weeks. This year I had about 4 or more episodes like this.

How my BPPV vertigo is caused by antacids

After an year of tests done on various medical clinics no medic can say how can I heal or prevent this BPPV vertigo attack. So I started searching for a plausible trigger myself.

I know this: Each Vertigo attack started in the night or in early morning while sleeping.

What was I doing the day before, or what these days have in common:

  • Most of the times it was after a weekend, I had eaten quite a lot of unhealthy food like fries, porc meat, barbecue and sweets.
  • I also had a beer.
  • Most of the times it was raining hard so either the atmospheric pressure or just the cold rain on my head and neck that stiffens my brain circulation.
  • Later in the evening before the attack I felt a stomach heartburn like I feel after unhealthy meals so I chewed an antacid. Then I slept on the left side and I think my antacid mixed with saliva was able go from my throat directly to my inner year while I was in the bed. The antacid was containing: calcium carbonate(the same substance that is naturally occurring in the crystals that dislodge to create the Vertigo) and containing: Magensium stearate(a chemical that is used to prevent sticking and to favour lubrication – thus dislodging ear crystals and starting a Vertigo).

This is how I was able to link each of my BPPV vertigo episodes starting after chewing an antacid in the evening before. An antacid that contains Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Stearate!

Antacids also contain “magnesium stearate” which breaks down calcium carbonate into smaller pieces and prevents it to stick.

I was able to link each of my BPPV night vertigo episodes to chewing an antacid in the evening. An antacid that contains calcium carbonate and Magnesium Stearate!

By chewing the antacid, a big part of the calcium carbonate and Magnesium Stearate will flow directly into the inner ear especially if you are chewing it by laying down in bed. It’s easy for substances to go from your throat to the inner year while laying down in bed, on your back or on a side. So it’s not entering in the ear trough the stomach or trough the blood stream!!!

Each time I was chewing it, I was in bed and sleeping on my left side, hence the vertigo is on my left side.

It was easy to spot it because I rarely use antacids!

What is Magnesium Stearate?

Magnesium stearate is commonly added to many foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. In medications and vitamins, its primary purpose is to act as a lubricant.

What does magnesium stearate do? Magnesium stearate is an additive that’s primarily used in medication capsules. It’s considered a “flow agent.” It prevents the individual ingredients in a capsule from sticking to each other and the machine that creates the capsules.

For the capsules that are swallowed with water the probability is less because the chemical formulas are changed and the quantity that goes into the blood stream is too small to dislodge the crystals.

But all of these chew-able capsules that contain Magnesium Stearate have the potential to dislodge the crystals and create a BPPV episode. And if these capsules also contain Calcium Carbonate the amount if this will increase in your year and start to move freely in the canals due to inability to stick caused by the Magnesium Stearate.

Once it gets to the inner ear, it will prevent the otholits crystals to stick and it will break them loose to freely move in the canals, provoking the BPPV Vertigo episode start.

Antacids will probably not provoke Vertigo to anyone using them. But for those who have this syndrome due to genetic causes like brain blood vessels disorders or other inner year disorder or sensibilities, or simply the age, it’s definitely a number one candidate for a trigger of Vertigo BPPV.

July 24, 2020.

DISCLAIMER:

I am not a doctor and no scientific test was done yet to prove that antacids can trigger BPPV Vertigo attacks. This is just my story, the way I felt it. If you have vertigo or other dizziness related symptoms please seek medical assistance right away.

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