What is Meniere’s Disease?

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Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s quite certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to dismiss its effects. Some prevalent symptoms of this disorder are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really sure what causes that accumulation in the first place.

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

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a persistent condition that impacts the inner ear and it’s known as Meniere’s disease. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse as time passes. Here are some of those symptoms:

Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to know when these episodes of vertigo will occur or how long they could last.

Tinnitus: The intensity of this tinnitus could ebb and flow, but it’s not abnormal for those with Meniere’s Disease to have ringing in their ears.

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 result in a loss of hearing.

It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But over time, symptoms may become more regular and obvious.

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 prevalent treatments include the following:

  • 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 reducing retention of fluid. This medication is not used to manage extreme symptoms but instead is taken long-term.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.
  • Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. Typically, however, only the vertigo part of the disease is impacted by this surgery. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially hard to treat, this non-invasive method can be utilized. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. As a way to minimize fluid accumulation, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term advantages of this method but it does seem encouraging.
  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is acting up, You can apply certain physical therapies that can help with balance. If you’re perpetually dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
  • Medications: In some instances, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those particular symptoms show up, this can be helpful. For instance, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo occurs.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss gets worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. Normally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the advancement of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you manage the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.

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

You should get an exam if suspect you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the progress of your condition. More frequently, however, they reduce the effect that Meniere’s will have on your daily life.

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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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