What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s quite sure what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s difficult to ignore its impact. Some common symptoms of this affliction are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that buildup initially.

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

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that impacts the inner ear. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse over time. Here are some of those symptoms:

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

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

Fullness in the ear: This manifests as a feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically referred to as aural fullness.

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

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

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

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

The following are a few of those treatments:

  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to try a hearing aid. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially engaged. There are also numerous ways hearing aids can help deal with tinnitus.
  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The concept here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be minimized by decreasing retention of fluid. This medication isn’t used to treat acute symptoms but instead is taken long-term.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will typically only impact the vertigo side of symptoms. It won’t impact the other symptoms.
  • Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is acting up, You can use certain physical therapies that can help with balance. This approach could be a practical strategy if you’re experiencing regular dizziness or vertigo.
  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive technique used when Meniere’s is especially difficult to manage. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. This treatment involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid buildup. While positive pressure therapy is promising, the long-term benefits of this method have not been borne out by peer-reviewed research.
  • Medications: In some cases, your physician will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those particular symptoms show up, this can be helpful. So, when an episode of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help decrease that dizziness.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.

Get the right treatment for you

You should get an exam if suspect you may have Meniere’s disease. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed down by these treatments. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life despite your condition.

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