What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not well understood. But it’s difficult to ignore its effects. Some common symptoms of this affliction are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that buildup to begin with.

So the question is: how can you deal with something that doesn’t seem to have an identifiable cause? The answer is, well, complex.

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a persistent condition that affects the inner ear. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse over time. Here are some of those symptoms:

Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will strike and how long they may last can’t be predicted.

Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to experience ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.

Fullness in the ear: This manifests as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically called aural fullness.

Hearing loss: Eventually, Meniere’s disease can lead to a loss of hearing.

If you experience these symptoms, it’s necessary to receive a definitive diagnosis. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But over time, symptoms can become more consistent and noticeable.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is persistent and progressive. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.

The following are a few of those treatments:

  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some instances. If those specific symptoms appear, this can be helpful. For example, medications designed to help with motion sickness may help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo happens.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly hard to treat, this non-invasive approach can be utilized. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this treatment. This treatment involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure in order to limit fluid buildup. Peer review has not, as of yet, confirmed the long-term benefits of this method but it does seem encouraging.
  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician might prescribe is a diuretic. The concept is that reducing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication isn’t used to treat acute symptoms but instead is used long-term.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will normally only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy methods that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re perpetually dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to get a hearing aid. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially active. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.

The key is getting the treatment that’s best for you

You should get checked out if think you may have Meniere’s disease. The development of Meniere’s disease may be slowed down by these treatments. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life despite your condition.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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