What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to dismiss its impact. Some prevalent symptoms of this disorder are vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Experts aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can build up in the ears and this seems to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.

So the question is: how can you address something that doesn’t seem to have an identifiable cause? The answer is, well, complex.

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

There’s a chronic condition that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. For many individuals, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse over time. Those symptoms could include:

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

Tinnitus: The intensity 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 known as aural fullness.

Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can lead to hearing loss over time.

It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are irregular. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more consistent.

How is Meniere’s disease treated?

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

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Hearing aid: It may be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is faltering. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the progress of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly 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 specific symptoms manifest, this can be helpful. For instance, medications designed to help with motion sickness may help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo occurs.
  • 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 approach if you’re experiencing frequent dizziness or vertigo.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication option that may be prescribed by your doctor. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by decreasing fluid retention. This is a long-term medication that you’d take instead of one to reduce acute symptoms.
  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive approach employed when Meniere’s is particularly difficult to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical term for this treatment. This therapy involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid accumulation. Peer review has not, so far, confirmed the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem encouraging.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to address Meniere’s. Typically, however, only the vertigo part of the disease is affected by this surgery. It won’t impact the other symptoms.

Get the right treatment for you

If you think you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes reduce the progression of your condition. But these treatments more often help you have a better quality of life despite 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.