What is Meniere’s Disease?


Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to dismiss its impact. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all common symptoms of this disorder. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really sure what causes that accumulation to begin with.

So the question is: how can you treat something that doesn’t appear to have a discernible cause? It’s a complicated answer.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that affects the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow over time, for many people, because it’s a progressive disorder. Those symptoms could include:

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when these attacks of vertigo may strike or how long they could last.

Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to have 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: Meniere’s disease can lead to hearing loss over time.

It’s critical that you get the proper diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can come and go for many individuals. But over time, symptoms can become more consistent and noticeable.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is persistent and progressive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.

The following are a few of those treatments:

  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive method employed when Meniere’s is particularly challenging to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. This therapy entails exposing the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid accumulation. Peer review has not, as of yet, verified the long-term advantages of this method but it does seem encouraging.
  • Surgery: Occasionally, Meniere’s disease can be treated with surgery. However, these surgical techniques will typically only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy techniques that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. This approach may be a practical technique if you’re experiencing regular dizziness or vertigo.
  • Hearing aid: It may be time to get hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is failing. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can help your mental health by keeping you socially active. There are also numerous ways hearing aids can help treat tinnitus.
  • Diuretic: Another kind of medication that your physician might prescribe is a diuretic. The concept 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 rather than one to minimize severe symptoms.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your doctor in some cases. This can be helpful when those particular symptoms manifest. So, when a bout of dizziness happens, medication for motion sickness can help decrease that dizziness.

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

If you suspect you have Meniere’s disease, you should get evaluated. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed by these treatments. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life in spite of your condition.

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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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