What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not really understood. But the effects are difficult to ignore. Some prevalent symptoms of this affliction are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Scientists aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can accumulate in the ears and this seems to be the underlying cause of Meniere’s disease.

So the question is: if a condition doesn’t have an identifiable 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 impacts the inner ear. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse over time. Those symptoms may include:

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

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

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

It’s critical that you get the proper diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will likely become more persistent.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

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

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The concept is that reducing the retention of fluids could help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This is a long-term medication that you’d take instead of one to reduce severe symptoms.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.
  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your physician in some instances. If those particular symptoms appear, this can be helpful. So, when an episode of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help decrease that dizziness.
  • Surgery: In some cases, Meniere’s disease can be treated with surgery. However, these surgical procedures will typically only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive approach used when Meniere’s is especially difficult to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. As a way to limit fluid accumulation, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term benefits of this approach have yet to be backed up by peer-reviewed studies.
  • 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 down by hearing aids. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially active. There are also numerous ways hearing aids can help deal with tinnitus.
  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is acting up, You can employ certain physical therapies that can help with balance. If you’re perpetually dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this approach might be warranted.

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

You should get an exam if think you may have Meniere’s disease. The development of Meniere’s disease may be slowed down by these treatments. But these treatments more frequently 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.