No one’s quite sure what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s hard to dismiss its impact. Some common symptoms of this affliction are dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to stem from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really certain what causes that buildup to begin with.
So here’s the question: how can you deal with something that doesn’t seem to have a discernible cause? The answer is, well, complicated.
Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear and it’s known as Meniere’s disease. For many people, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse as time passes. Here are some of those symptoms:
Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will strike and how long they will last can’t be predicted.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to have ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.
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.
If you experience these symptoms, it’s essential to receive an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many individuals. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more consistent.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is persistent and progressive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.
Some of the most prevalent treatments include the following:
- Medications: In some situations, your physician will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can help when those specific symptoms appear. For example, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo happens.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re perpetually dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this approach might be warranted.
- Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician might prescribe is a diuretic. The strategy is that reducing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This is a long-term medication that you’d use instead of one to decrease acute symptoms.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to get a hearing aid. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the progress of your hearing loss. But it can benefit your mental health by keeping you socially active. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive technique used when Meniere’s is especially hard to treat. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. In order to limit fluid buildup, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. Peer review has not, as of yet, confirmed the long-term benefits of this method but it does seem encouraging.
- Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. However, these surgical procedures will normally only affect the vertigo side of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will remain.
Find the right treatment for you
You should get an exam if think you may have Meniere’s disease. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed by these treatments. But these treatments more often help you have a greater quality of life in spite of your condition.