Meniere's disease

Article by Shane Armfield

What is Meniere's Disease?

Meniere's disease is a disorder that affects the inner ear. The inner ear contains tubes filled with fluid called “labyrinths.” The inner ear is responsible for your balance, as well as hearing. This disorder causes vertigo (a sensation of spinning), hearing problems, and a ringing sound in the ear.

What Causes Meniere's Disease?

The symptoms of Ménière's disease are caused by the buildup of fluid in the compartments of the inner ear, called the labyrinth. The labyrinth contains the organs of balance (the semicircular canals and otolithic organs) and of hearing (the cochlea). It has two sections: the bony labyrinth and the membranous labyrinth.

Meniere's Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of Meniere's Disease include:

  • vertigo (attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours)
  • loss of hearing in the affected ear.
  • tinnitus (a sensation of ringing) in the affected ear.
  • a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.
  • loss of balance.
  • headaches.
  • nausea, vomiting, and sweating caused by severe vertigo.

How is Meniere's Disease Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Meniere's disease requires: Two episodes of vertigo, each lasting 20 minutes or longer but not longer than 24 hours. Hearing loss verified by a hearing test. Tinnitus or a feeling of fullness in your ear.

Meniere's Disease Treatment

Motion sickness medications, such as meclizine or diazepam (Valium), may reduce the spinning sensation and help control nausea and vomiting. Anti-nausea medications, such as promethazine, might control nausea and vomiting during an episode of vertigo.

 

Meniere's Disease Prognosis

 

Most people can manage their Meniere's symptoms with diet and lifestyle modifications and a medical plan prescribed by their doctor.

  • With a thorough evaluation and if you are motivated, you can often control attacks. Careful follow-ups with your doctor and any ENT specialists are needed on a regular basis to monitor symptoms, progress, and adjust therapy throughout the disease process.
  • Only a minority of people require a surgical procedure to control their attacks. Thorough evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat specialist should be considered if medical management fails.
  • If hearing levels decrease over time, amplification of sound or surgical management in extreme cases may be needed to improve hearing.

Vertigo & Dizziness

Common Causes 

vertio-dizziness

Due to the complex diagnostic skills required to accurately diagnose the cause of your vertigo or dizziness, we highly recommend seeking the professional opinion of a health practitioner with expertise in the assessment and managment of vestibular disorders.

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Last updated 27-Jan-2017 03:11 PM

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