No one’s quite certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But the effects are hard to ignore. Ringing in the ears, vertigo, dizziness, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disorder. Researchers aren’t really sure why, but for some reason, fluid can build up in the ears and this seems to be the root cause of Meniere’s disease.
So the question is: how can you treat something that doesn’t appear to have a discernible cause? It’s a complex answer.
Exactly what 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 people, because it’s a progressive condition. Here are some of those symptoms:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Sadly, when these bouts of vertigo will strike and how long they may last can’t be predicted.
Tinnitus: It’s fairly 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 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 result in a loss of hearing.
If you experience these symptoms, it’s essential to receive a definitive diagnosis. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can come and go for many people. But over time, symptoms can become more consistent and noticeable.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
There is no known cure for Menier’s disease which is chronic and progressive. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any treatments.
Some of the most common treatments include the following:
- Surgery: In some situations, surgery is used to treat Meniere’s. Normally, however, only the vertigo side of the disease is impacted by this surgery. Other Meniere’s symptoms will continue.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss grows worse, you might want to get a hearing aid. Normally, a hearing aid won’t necessarily impede the advancement of your hearing loss. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you control the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician could prescribe is a diuretic. The idea 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 as opposed to one to minimize acute symptoms.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, particularly vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of specific steroids.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy methods that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. This approach may be a useful technique if you’re experiencing frequent dizziness or vertigo.
- Medications: In some cases, your physician will be able to prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those particular symptoms appear, this can be helpful. For example, medications designed to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo takes place.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive method employed when Meniere’s is particularly hard to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this therapy. In order to minimize fluid buildup, the inner ear is subjected to positive pressure. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term benefits of this method but it does seem encouraging.
The key is finding the treatment that’s best for you
You should get checked out if suspect you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow the advancement of your condition. But these treatments more frequently help you have a better quality of life despite your condition.