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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Brain Tumors

Question: vertigo

 Chelan - Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:41 am

Last year I suddenly lost my sense of smell and subsequently had some strange smells I couldn't describe or seem to lose. As a result my dr. ran some blood tests and sent me for a head CT scan. My prolactin level was raised at 67 so he decided to also do a pituitary CT scan. I had the scan in Sept/05 and the scan diag a 7mm left sided pituitary tumor(not pressing on optic nerve), which I understand is relatively small. I'm in Canada and plagued with long wait times and currently waiting for a referral to a neurosurgeon (wait times to see endrocronologist are over a year in my province) in the meantime I asked for repeat of my prolactin level - it came back at 14. Recently, I've had some severe attacks of vertigo. One bad attack lasted a full day (room spinning every time I moved my head and bad nausea) and mild vertigo continued for a couple of weeks. I've also had stabbing pains on the right side of my head right above my ear. After mentioning these systems to my GP he arranged for me to see the neurosurgeon sooner, which is hard to do out here.

Is it possible the pituitary tumor from the CT is another type of brain tumor? Are there any questions I should ask or tests I should request (blood tests, etc - I'm hoping he requests an MRI or at the least a repeat CT) from the neurosurgeon? I'd like to be prepared and knowledgable before I see him.

Thanks for your time and any and all advise.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:41 am

User avatar Hello,

I hope you are feeling well now and that the results of your investigations were favorable.

Functioning microadenomas of the pituitary are common in women and may lead to a syndrome known as galactorrhea-amenorrhea syndrome. They rarely grow large enough to affect the neighboring optic chiasma.

Vertigo is caused by many diseases some of which are related to the vestibular apparatus in the middle ear (peripheral) others are related to the CNS (central).

Peripheral causes of vertigo include diseases of the semicircular canals such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Meniere's disease and vestibular neuritis (viral infection) as well as ototoxicity from drugs such as environmental chemicals (e.g., lead, mercury, tin) and some medications as well as alcohol.

Medications known to cause ototoxicity include aminoglycoside antibiotics, antineoplastic chemotherapy (cisplatin) as well as some antidepressants, antihypertensives, loop diuretics, anticonvulsants, aspirin, some cold medicines and quinine.

Central causes of vertigo include diseases of the vestibular nerve, brainstem, and cerebellum such as head trauma, stroke, hemorrhage, migraine, multiple sclerosis as well as tumors such as acoustic neuroma.

Other causes may include systemic diseases such as cardiovascular insufficiency, renal or liver failure.

My best guess is that your vertigo may not be directly related to your pituitary adenoma.

Best regards,

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