What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s isn’t well understood. But the impacts are hard to underestimate. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disease. 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 accumulation in the first place.

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

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a chronic condition that affects the inner ear and it’s known as Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow as time passes, for many individuals, because it’s a progressive condition. Those symptoms may include:

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

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

Fullness in the ear: This symptom is medically known as aural fullness, the feeling of pressure in your ear.

Hearing loss: Over time, Meniere’s disease can result in a loss of hearing.

It’s critical that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. For many individuals with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But eventually, symptoms can become more regular and obvious.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition for which there is no known cure. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any treatments.

Some of the most prevalent treatments include the following:

  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy techniques that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re constantly dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to try a hearing aid. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to address Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will typically only affect the vertigo side of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will persist.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly difficult to manage, this non-invasive technique can be utilized. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. As a way to minimize fluid accumulation, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. While positive pressure therapy is encouraging, the long-term benefits of this method have yet to be borne out by peer-reviewed research.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that might be prescribed by your doctor. The concept is that decreasing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication is not used to treat extreme symptoms but instead is used long-term.
  • Medications: In some situations, your physician will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can help when those particular symptoms occur. So, when a bout of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help relieve that dizziness.

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

You should get checked out if suspect you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes reduce the advancement of your condition. 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.