What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s really sure what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to ignore its impact. Some prevalent symptoms of this disorder are dizziness, vertigo, 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 researchers aren’t really sure what causes that buildup initially.

So the question is: if a condition doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be addressed? It’s a complicated answer.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a persistent 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 condition. Those symptoms could include:

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

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

Fullness in the ear: This is experienced as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically called aural fullness.

Hearing loss: Over time, Meniere’s disease can lead to a loss of hearing.

If you experience these symptoms, it’s essential to receive a definitive diagnosis. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as time passes, symptoms may become more regular and obvious.

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 aren’t any treatments.

Some of the most common treatments include the following:

  • Medications: In some situations, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those particular symptoms appear, this can be helpful. For example, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo takes place.
  • Steroid shots: Injections of specific kinds of steroids can temporarily help relieve some Meniere’s symptoms, especially in regards to vertigo.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re regularly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this strategy might be warranted.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is especially challenging to manage, this non-invasive approach can be used. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. This treatment entails subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid accumulation. Peer review has not, as of yet, verified the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem encouraging.
  • Surgery: In some cases, Meniere’s disease can be treated with surgery. Normally, however, only the vertigo part of the disease is impacted by this surgery. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
  • 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. 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 active. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The strategy is that decreasing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication isn’t used to manage acute symptoms but instead is used long-term.

Find the best treatment for you

If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get evaluated. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed down by these treatments. But these treatments more often 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.