What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not well understood. But the effects are difficult to dismiss. Some prevalent symptoms of this condition are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Experts aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can accumulate in the ears and this appears to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.

So here’s the question: how can you deal with something that doesn’t appear to have a discernible cause? The answer is, well, complex.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder that affects the inner ear. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse as time passes. Those symptoms could include:

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

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

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

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

If you notice these symptoms, it’s necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will probably become more persistent.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

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

Some of the most common treatments include the following:

  • Hearing aid: It might be time to get hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is faltering. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially active which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication alternative that may be prescribed by your doctor. The concept here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be minimized by decreasing retention of fluid. This medication isn’t used to treat extreme symptoms but instead is taken long-term.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially difficult to manage, this non-invasive method can be used. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this therapy. As a way to minimize fluid buildup, the inner ear is exposed to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term benefits of this method have not been borne out by peer-reviewed studies.
  • Medications: In some situations, your doctor will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can be helpful when those particular symptoms appear. For instance, medications made to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo happens.
  • Steroid shots: Injections of certain kinds of steroids can temporarily help alleviate some Meniere’s symptoms, particularly when it comes to vertigo.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. This approach could be a practical strategy if you’re experiencing frequent dizziness or vertigo.
  • Surgery: In some instances, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will generally only affect the vertigo side of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will persist.

Find the best treatment for you

You should get an exam if think you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the progress of your condition. But these treatments more often help you have a greater quality of life in spite of 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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