No one’s quite certain what causes Meniere’s disease. But the effects are difficult to underestimate. Ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss are all common symptoms of this disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease appear to stem from a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, but scientists aren’t really sure what causes that buildup in the first place.
So the question is: if something doesn’t have a discernible cause, how can it be managed? The answer is, well, complex.
What exactly is Meniere’s disease?
Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that affects the inner ear. For many people, Meniere’s disease is progressive, meaning symptoms will get worse over time. Here are some of those symptoms:
Unpredictable bouts of vertigo: Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine when these attacks of vertigo will strike or how long they will last.
Tinnitus: It’s relatively 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 manifests as a sensation of pressure in your ears and is medically known as aural fullness.
Hearing loss: Eventually, Meniere’s disease can cause a loss of hearing.
It’s important that you get the proper diagnosis if you’re noticing these symptoms. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease can appear and disappear for many individuals. But as the disease advances, the symptoms will most likely become more persistent.
How is Meniere’s disease treated?
Meniere’s disease is a progressive and persistent condition which has no known cure. But there are some ways to manage the symptoms.
The following are a few of those treatments:
- Diuretic: Another type of medication that your physician may prescribe is a diuretic. The idea here is that the pressure in the inner ear can be minimized by reducing fluid retention. This medication is not used to treat acute symptoms but instead is used long-term.
- Rehabilitation: When Meniere’s disease is flaring up, You can apply certain physical therapies that can help with balance. This approach could be a practical strategy if you’re experiencing frequent dizziness or vertigo.
- Steroid shots: Some symptoms of Meniere’s, especially vertigo, can be temporarily alleviated with injections of certain steroids.
- Hearing aid: As Meniere’s disease advances and your hearing loss gets worse, you may want to get a hearing aid. Generally, 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 deal with the symptoms of tinnitus in numerous ways.
- Surgery: In some cases, Meniere’s disease can be addressed with surgery. Normally, however, only the vertigo part of the disease is affected by this surgery. It won’t affect the other symptoms.
- Positive pressure therapy: There’s a non-invasive method used when Meniere’s is particularly challenging to treat. Positive pressure therapy is the medical name for this treatment. This treatment involves exposing the inner ear to positive pressure as a way to limit fluid accumulation. Peer review has not, so far, verified the long-term advantages of this method but it does seem encouraging.
- Medications: Anti-nausea and anti-dizziness medications can be prescribed by your doctor in some situations. If those particular symptoms manifest, this can be helpful. For instance, medications created to help with motion sickness could help you feel less dizzy when a bout of vertigo occurs.
Get the correct treatment for you
You should get an exam if think you might have Meniere’s disease. Treatments for Meniere’s can sometimes slow down the advancement of your condition. More frequently, however, they minimize the impact that Meniere’s will have on your day-to-day life.