I’m only a child – can I have BPPV?

BPPV can affect people of any age as everyone has the otoconia (ear crystals) which causes BPPV.  These otoconia are a normal part of the balance system.  Most children with BPPV have recently been in some kind of accident where there is a degree of head injury. It is not clear if the injury shakes these crystals loose or if blood gets into the canals and causes the crystals to come loose, or if the blood itself causes the symptoms.  Most children with post traumatic BPPV seem to do well and accommodate quickly to the symptoms and respond well to treatment.

BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) in children can easily be confused with BPV of Childhood (Bengin paroxysmal vertigo) which is actually a migraine related phenomenon.  It is unfortunate that the names are so close as they are not related disorders.  The primary distinguishing difference is that BPPV can be brought on with position change and is due to otoconia whereas BPV is often associated with headache and not affected by position.

BPPV is most commonly seen in people over the age of 60 as they are most likely to have age related changes to their ears which causes the otoconia to come loose.  While it is possible to see BPPV in children it is uncommon and often short lived.  Careful attention should be paid to differentiate causes of vertigo in all patients.

2 Responses

  1. Clearwater Clinical

    BPV of childhood is actually very different from BPPV. BPPV is caused by particles in the inner ear that are loose and floating around in the semi-circular canals causing vertigo with head motion. BPV of childhood is essentially migraine. Many people refer to this as Migraine Associated Vertigo. MAV in children of BPV of childhood can have the vertigo without any headache so it makes it often hard to diagnose and often a diagnosis of exclusion as there isn’t really a test for it. A trail of medication can be helpful simply to see if it impacts the frequency of the headaches or vertigo symptoms. The good news is that many children either develop Migraine so at least it is obvious that this is the cause of grow out of it so the whole thing is self limited anyway. Certainly, ignoring the symptoms won’t help anyone. Try reading around MAV and BPV of childhood. Speak to you your physician if you have concerns regarding their course of action, they usually will be happy you asked.

  2. Sarah

    My daughter was just diagnosed with BPV (benign paroxysmal vertigo in childhood) I am wondering if there are any blogs or a way I can connect with other parents who have kids with this. The Neurologist prescribed a medication to her that I am unsure about and am nervous to give her. I would love any insight on this. Thank you so much.

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