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 hard to underestimate. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disorder. Scientists aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can build up in the ears and this appears to be the underlying cause of Meniere’s disease.

So the question is: if a condition doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be managed? It’s a complicated answer.

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder that affects the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse as time passes, for many people, because it’s a progressive condition. Those symptoms may include:

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine when these episodes of vertigo will strike 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 experience ringing in their ears.

Fullness in the ear: This symptom is medically referred to as aural fullness, the feeling of pressure in your ear.

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 experiencing these symptoms. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more regular.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition which has no known cure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any treatments.

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Steroid shots: Injections of specific kinds of steroids can temporarily help alleviate some Meniere’s symptoms, especially in regards to vertigo.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to treat Meniere’s. Normally, however, only the vertigo side of the disease is impacted by this surgery. Other Meniere’s symptoms will remain.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some situations This can be helpful when those particular symptoms manifest. For instance, medications created to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo takes place.
  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is flaring up, You can employ certain physical therapies that can help with balance. This approach could be a useful technique if you’re experiencing regular dizziness or vertigo.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you may want to try a hearing aid. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily slow the progress of your hearing loss. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially engaged. There are also several ways hearing aids can help deal with tinnitus.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that might be prescribed by your doctor. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by decreasing retention of fluid. This is a long-term medication that you’d take as opposed to one to minimize acute symptoms.
  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive technique used when Meniere’s is particularly difficult to treat. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. This therapy entails subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid buildup. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term advantages of this approach have yet to be borne out by peer-reviewed research.

The key is finding the treatment that’s right for you

You should get checked out if think you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the advancement of your condition. More often, however, they minimize the impact that Meniere’s will have on your day-to-day life.

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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