Meniere’s Disease

What is Meniere disease?

— Meniere disease is a condition that causes problems with balance and hearing. It is sometimes called Meniere’s disease.

What causes Meniere disease?

— Meniere disease is caused by a build-up of fluid in the inside of the ear. Doctors are not sure why the fluid builds up.

What are the symptoms of Meniere disease?

— People with Meniere disease have these 3 symptoms: ●Vertigo – This is the medical term for when you feel dizzy and like you are spinning, swaying, or tilting. You might also feel like the room is moving around you. Some people with vertigo feel sick to their stomach (nausea) and throw up. People with Meniere disease usually have episodes of vertigo which can start suddenly and last several minutes to a few hours. ●Tinnitus – This is the medical term for when you hear a buzzing, ringing, or hissing noise in 1 or both ears. People with Meniere disease often say the noise sounds like listening to machinery or the inside of a seashell. This can come and go with vertigo episodes, or happen separately. ●Hearing loss – You might lose your hearing during an episode of vertigo. But over time, usually about 8 to 10 years, hearing loss can slowly become permanent. Some people with Meniere disease also get a feeling of pressure in their ears.

Is there a test for Meniere disease?

— There is no test for Meniere, but there are tests for some of its symptoms. Your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have Meniere disease by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam. You will probably be tested for hearing loss and might be tested for balance problems. ●Balance testing – For one of these tests, you will have small devices called “electrodes” put near your eyes to measure your eye movements while you move your head and eyes. For other tests, you sit in a special chair that spins, or you stand on a platform that moves. Special devices measure how your body responds to the movements. ●A hearing test (also called “audiometry”) Your doctor might also do tests to make sure you do not have a different problem. These tests might include: ●Blood tests to look for an infection or hormone problem, such as diabetes ●An MRI of the head – This is an imaging test that allows the doctor to see parts of your brain.

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better?

— Yes. You might feel better if you avoid eating and drinking things that make your symptoms worse. These things can include: ●Salt and salty foods ●Monosodium glutamate (also called “MSG”) – This is a substance sometimes added to certain foods (such as Chinese food and packaged foods) to make them taste better. ●Coffee, tea, sodas, or other drinks that have caffeine in them ●Alcohol You should also stop smoking, if you smoke. How is Meniere disease treated? — Treatments include: ●Medicines to treat dizziness and nausea ●Medicines called “diuretics – These can help with fluid or swelling in the ear. ●A hearing aid ●Special exercises to help with your balance – Your doctor might refer you to a physical therapist (exercise expert) to teach you these exercises. ●Medicines that go into your ear – These are given as an injection (shot). Your doctor might recommend these if medicines taken in pill form do not work. ●Surgery – Your doctor might recommend surgery if your symptoms are so bad that you are not able to drive, work, or do active things you used to be able to do. But surgery might make your hearing worse. Some patients say that they feel better taking special vitamins or herbal treatments. But there are no studies that prove these treatments are helpful, and some might be costly.
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