What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s quite certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to overlook its effects. Some common symptoms of this affliction are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Experts aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can accumulate in the ears and this appears to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.

So here’s the question: if a condition doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be dealt with? It’s a complex answer.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a persistent condition that impacts the inner ear. For many people, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse over time. Those symptoms may include:

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

Tinnitus: The severity of this tinnitus could 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 manifests as a feeling 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 important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can come and go for many people. But eventually, symptoms may become more consistent and noticeable.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

Meniere’s disease is a progressive and chronic condition which has no known cure. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.

Some of the most prevalent treatments include the following:

  • Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your doctor in some situations. If those particular symptoms show up, this can be helpful. So, when an episode of dizziness happens, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.
  • 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 failing. The progression of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed down by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can give a boost to your mental health. There are also several ways hearing aids can help deal with tinnitus.
  • Surgery: In some instances, surgery is utilized to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical techniques will normally only impact the vertigo side of symptoms. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
  • 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.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly difficult to treat, this non-invasive method can be used. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this treatment. In order to limit fluid accumulation, the inner ear is exposed to positive pressure. Peer review has not, as of yet, confirmed the long-term advantages of this approach but it does seem encouraging.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication alternative that might be prescribed by your physician. The concept here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by decreasing retention of fluid. This medication is not used to manage extreme symptoms but instead is taken long-term.

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

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