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 dismiss. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all common symptoms of this disorder. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really sure what causes that buildup initially.

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

What exactly is Meniere’s disease?

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

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when these episodes of vertigo will occur or how long they will 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 is experienced as a sensation 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 notice these symptoms, it’s essential to receive a definitive diagnosis. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many people. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will likely become more consistent.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

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: In some situations, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can be helpful when those specific symptoms appear. For example, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo happens.
  • 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.
  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
  • Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive method used when Meniere’s is particularly hard to manage. It’s called positive pressure therapy. This treatment involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure in order to limit fluid accumulation. Peer review has not, so far, confirmed the long-term benefits of this approach but it does seem promising.
  • Diuretic: A diuretic is another medication alternative that may be prescribed by your physician. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by reducing retention of fluid. This is a long-term medication that you’d use as opposed to one to minimize extreme symptoms.
  • Surgery: In some situations, surgery is utilized 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.
  • Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss gets worse, you might want to try a hearing aid. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially active which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.

Find the correct treatment for you

If you believe you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. The advancement of Meniere’s disease might be slowed down by these treatments. More frequently, however, they reduce the impact that Meniere’s will have on your day-to-day life.

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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.

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