No one’s really certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But it’s difficult to ignore its impact. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all typical symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to come from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really certain what causes that accumulation initially.
So the question is: how can you treat something that doesn’t seem to have an identifiable cause? It’s a complicated answer.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
There’s a chronic disorder that impacts the inner ear and it’s called Meniere’s disease. For many patients, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will grow worse over time. Here are some of those symptoms:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Sadly, when these episodes will occur and how long they will last can’t be predicted.
Tinnitus: The severity of this tinnitus could 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 feeling of pressure in your ears and is medically called aural fullness.
Hearing loss: Meniere’s disease can result in hearing loss over time.
It’s important that you get an accurate diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. For many people with Meniere’s, symptoms are intermittent. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms will most likely become more regular.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition for which there is no known cure. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.
The following are some of those treatments:
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician might prescribe is a diuretic. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be lessened by reducing fluid retention. This is a long-term medication that you’d take instead of one to decrease extreme symptoms.
- Surgery: In some instances, surgery is utilized to address Meniere’s. However, these surgical procedures will generally only affect the vertigo part of symptoms. Other Meniere’s symptoms will remain.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily relieved with injections of certain steroids.
- Hearing aid: It might be time to try hearing aids if Meniere’s disease is advancing to the point where your ability to hear is failing. The advancement of your hearing loss won’t necessarily be slowed by hearing aids. But it can help keep you socially engaged which can give a boost to your mental health. Hearing aids can also help you manage the symptoms of tinnitus in several ways.
- Medications: In some cases, your physician will be prescribe anti-dizziness and anti-nausea medications. If those specific symptoms manifest, this can be helpful. For example, medications made to help with motion sickness may help you feel less dizzy when an episode of vertigo occurs.
- Positive pressure therapy: When Meniere’s disease is particularly hard to manage, this non-invasive technique can be used. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this therapy. As a way to minimize fluid accumulation, the inner ear is exposed to positive pressure. Peer review has not, as of yet, verified the long-term benefits of this method but it does seem promising.
- Rehabilitation: There are rehabilitation and physical therapy methods that can help you maintain balance when Meniere’s disease is acting up. If you’re constantly dizzy or experiencing vertigo, this strategy might be warranted.
Find the best treatment for you
If you suspect you have Meniere’s disease, you should get examined. The development of Meniere’s disease may be slowed by these treatments. More often, however, they reduce the effect that Meniere’s will have on your everyday life.