What is Meniere’s Disease?

Woman leaning against wall because of recurring dizziness.

The cause of Meniere’s is not really understood. But it’s hard to dismiss its effects. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disorder. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease seem to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that buildup to begin with.

So here’s the question: if something doesn’t have an identifiable cause, how can it be dealt with? The answer is, well, complicated.

Exactly what is Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow over time, for many people, because it’s a progressive disorder. Those symptoms could include:

Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when these episodes of vertigo may strike or how long they will last.

Tinnitus: It’s fairly common for individuals with Meniere’s disease to experience ringing in the ears or tinnitus, which can range from mild to severe.

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 the proper diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can come and go for many people. But over time, symptoms can become more regular and obvious.

Treatment for Menier’s disease

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

The following are some of those treatments:

  • Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of certain steroids.
  • Medications: In some cases, your doctor will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can help when those particular symptoms appear. So, when an episode of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help alleviate that dizziness.
  • Diuretic: Another form of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The strategy is that reducing the retention of fluids might help minimize pressure on your inner ear. This medication is not used to treat acute symptoms but instead is used long-term.
  • Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly difficult to treat, this non-invasive approach can be employed. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. This treatment entails exposing the inner ear to positive pressure in order to limit fluid accumulation. While positive pressure therapy is promising, the long-term advantages of this approach have not been backed up by peer-reviewed research.
  • Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. However, these surgical techniques will normally only affect the vertigo side of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will persist.
  • Hearing aid: It might be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is progressing to the point where your ability to hear is faltering. Normally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the advancement of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
  • Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you preserve balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re regularly dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this strategy might be warranted.

Get the right treatment for you

You should get an exam if think you may have Meniere’s disease. The development of Meniere’s disease might be slowed by these treatments. More frequently, however, they reduce the effect that Meniere’s will have on your everyday life.

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.