No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But the effects are difficult to ignore. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disorder. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from an accumulation of fluid in the inner ear, but researchers aren’t really sure what causes that accumulation in the first place.
So the question is: how can you treat something that doesn’t appear to have an identifiable cause? The answer is, well, complex.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a persistent condition that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s will grow as time passes, for many people, because it’s a progressive disease. Those symptoms may include:
Unpredictable spells of vertigo: Regrettably, there’s no way to tell when these attacks of vertigo may strike or how long they could last.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively common for people 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 called aural fullness, the feeling of pressure in your ear.
Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can cause hearing loss over time.
It’s critical that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many individuals. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will likely become more persistent.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is persistent and progressive. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.
Some of the most common treatments include the following:
- Medications: In some cases, your doctor will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. This can help when those specific symptoms manifest. For instance, medications created to help with motion sickness may help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo takes place.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease progresses and your hearing loss gets worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. Generally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the progress of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially active which can improve your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you manage the symptoms of tinnitus in a number of ways.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy strategies that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is flaring up. If you’re regularly dizzy or dealing with vertigo, this strategy might be warranted.
- Surgery: Sometimes, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. However, these surgical procedures will generally only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will continue.
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The concept is that decreasing 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 severe symptoms.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of specific steroids.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive approach employed when Meniere’s is especially hard to manage. It’s called positive pressure therapy. This treatment involves subjecting the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid buildup. Peer review has not, so far, confirmed the long-term advantages of this method but it does seem encouraging.
The key is finding the treatment that’s best for you
If you suspect you have Meniere’s disease, you should get evaluated. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the advancement of your condition. But these treatments more often help you have a greater quality of life in spite of your condition.