What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not well understood. But the impacts are difficult to ignore. Some prevalent symptoms of this affliction are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to come from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really sure what causes that buildup in the first place.

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

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a persistent condition that affects the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse as time passes, for many patients, because it’s a progressive disease. Here are some of those symptoms:

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

Tinnitus: It’s fairly 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 is experienced as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically referred to as aural fullness.

Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can result in hearing loss over time.

It’s important that you get the proper diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as time passes, symptoms may become more consistent and obvious.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition for which there is no known cure. But there are a few ways to manage the symptoms.

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Medications: In some situations, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those specific symptoms appear, this can be helpful. For example, medications made to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo occurs.
  • Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be treated with surgery. Typically, however, only the vertigo side of the disease is affected by this surgery. Other Meniere’s symptoms will continue.
  • 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 term for this therapy. This therapy involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid buildup. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term benefits of this method but it does seem encouraging.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re constantly dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
  • Steroid shots: Injections of specific types of steroids can temporarily help relieve some Meniere’s symptoms, especially when it comes to vertigo.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that might be prescribed by your physician. The concept here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by reducing fluid retention. This is a long-term medication that you’d use instead of one to reduce acute symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: It may be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is progressing to the point where your ability to hear is failing. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can help your mental health by keeping you socially engaged. Hearing aids can also help you manage the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.

Find the best treatment for you

You should get checked out if think you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the progression of your condition. But these treatments more often help you have a better 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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