The cause of Meniere’s is not well understood. But it’s difficult to ignore its effects. Some common symptoms of this disorder 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 scientists aren’t really certain what causes that accumulation in the first place.
So the question is: if a condition doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be addressed? The answer is, well, complex.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
Meniere’s disease is a persistent disorder that affects the inner ear. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow as time passes, for many patients, because it’s a progressive condition. Those symptoms could include:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Regrettably, there’s no way to determine when these attacks of vertigo will strike or how long they could last.
Tinnitus: The degree of this tinnitus may ebb and flow, but it’s not unusual for those with Meniere’s Disease to experience ringing in their ears.
Fullness in the ear: This is experienced as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically referred to as aural fullness.
Hearing loss: Over time, Meniere’s disease can lead to a loss of hearing.
It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many individuals. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will most likely become more consistent.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition for which there is no known cure. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any way to treat it.
The following are some of those treatments:
- Diuretic: Another kind 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 reduce extreme symptoms.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery is used to treat Meniere’s. However, these surgical procedures will generally only impact the vertigo part of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will persist.
- Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is acting up, You can utilize certain physical therapies that can help with balance. If you’re constantly dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this approach may be warranted.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you may want to try a hearing aid. Typically, 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 several ways.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive technique used when Meniere’s is particularly challenging to manage. It’s known as positive pressure therapy. This treatment involves exposing the inner ear to positive pressure in order to limit fluid accumulation. While positive pressure therapy is promising, the long-term benefits of this approach have not been borne out by peer-reviewed research.
- Steroid shots: Injections of specific types of steroids can temporarily help relieve some Meniere’s symptoms, especially when it comes to vertigo.
- Medications: In some cases, your physician will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those specific symptoms appear, this can be helpful. So, when an episode of dizziness occurs, medication for motion sickness can help relieve that dizziness.
The key is finding the treatment that’s right for you
If you believe you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the advancement of your condition. More often, however, they minimize the impact that Meniere’s will have on your daily life.