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. Some prevalent symptoms of this disorder are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to stem from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really sure what causes that buildup to begin with.

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

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a chronic affliction that affects the inner ear and it’s known as Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will get worse over time, for many individuals, because it’s a progressive disorder. Here are some of those symptoms:

Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine when these episodes of vertigo may strike or how long they could last.

Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for people 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 feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically called aural fullness.

Hearing loss: In the long run, Meniere’s disease can result in a loss of hearing.

If you experience these symptoms, it’s necessary to receive a definitive diagnosis. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many individuals. But eventually, symptoms can become more regular and obvious.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition which has no known cure. But there are some ways to deal with the symptoms.

The following are some of those treatments:

  • 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. Normally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the progress of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can give a boost to your mental health. There are also a number of ways hearing aids can help deal with tinnitus.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly difficult to treat, this non-invasive approach can be utilized. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this therapy. As a way to limit fluid buildup, the inner ear is exposed to positive pressure. Peer review has not, as of yet, confirmed the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem encouraging.
  • Steroid shots: Injections of specific kinds of steroids can temporarily help relieve some Meniere’s symptoms, particularly when it comes to vertigo.
  • Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The idea 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 take instead of one to minimize acute symptoms.
  • Surgery: Occasionally, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. However, these surgical techniques will typically only affect the vertigo side of symptoms. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is flaring up, You can use certain physical therapies that can help with balance. This approach may be a useful strategy if you’re experiencing regular dizziness or vertigo.
  • Medications: In some cases, your physician will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can help when those specific symptoms appear. So, when a bout of dizziness happens, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.

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

If you believe you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed down by these treatments. 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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