What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s isn’t well understood. But it’s hard to dismiss its effects. Some common symptoms of this condition are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really sure what causes that buildup in the first place.

So the question is: if something doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be addressed? The answer is, well, complex.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a persistent disorder that impacts the inner ear. For many individuals, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse over time. Here are some of those symptoms:

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Regrettably, there’s no way to tell when these attacks of vertigo may occur or how long they will last.

Tinnitus: The severity of this tinnitus may ebb and flow, but it’s not unusual for those with Meniere’s Disease to experience ringing in their ears.

Fullness in the ear: This symptom is medically known as aural fullness, the sensation of pressure in your ear.

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

If you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to receive a definitive diagnosis. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But eventually, symptoms can become more consistent and obvious.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

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

Some of the most common treatments include the following:

  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re constantly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical procedures will typically only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that might be prescribed by your physician. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by decreasing fluid retention. This is a long-term medication that you’d use as opposed to one to minimize severe symptoms.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss grows worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the advancement of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly difficult to manage, this non-invasive technique can be used. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. This treatment involves exposing the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid accumulation. While positive pressure therapy is promising, the long-term benefits of this approach have not been borne out by peer-reviewed research.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some instances This can help when those particular symptoms manifest. For instance, medications made to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo takes place.

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

If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes reduce the progress of your condition. But these treatments more frequently help you have a greater 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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