Ménière's disease 

Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder that causes episodes of vertigo which is a spinning sensation.  It is also known as idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops. It was first described by a French doctor, Prsoper Ménière in 1861 yet the cause still remains unknown.

It is episodic and often starts in one ear, and may progress to both. 

Symptoms of Meniere's disease include vertigo, hearing loss, ear ringing (tinnitus) and ear pressure. 
The vertigo may cause severe nausea and imbalance. 

Because people experience episodes of the disease the symptoms vary before during and after the episodes. Fatigue after an episode is common.
Symptoms change over time and many are left with permanent tinnutus and less episodes of vertigo. Hearing loss may become permanent due to changes in the middle ear.

There is no cure for Meniere's disease.

What can you do to help control Meniere's disease? 
  • Stop smoking, or being around smokers, as smoking or passive smoking, may worsen the symptoms. 
  • Lower your salt intake as a high salt diet makes symptoms worse in some people. 
  • Treat infections of the ear promptly as they may bring on or worsen symptoms. 
  • Some people find medications for motion sickness or nausea may give some relief. 
  • Some people are prescribed medication to reduce fluid retention.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy which aims to retrain the body and brain to process balance information. When successful, this helps in regaining confidence in the ability to move about.
  • See an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Causes of Meniere's disease. The causes are not known but some people have an abnormally large amount of fluid in the inner ear. Food sensitivities and allergies are also considered to be a contributing factor as are migraines or having an autoimmune condition and as it runs in families a genetic predisposition to the disease.

How is Meniere’s disease diagnosed ?

It is usually diagnosed and treated by an ear, nose, and throat doctor. There is no specific test used to make a diagnosis but requires the existence of:

  • Two or more episodes of vertigo lasting at least 20 minutes each
  • Tinnitus
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear

Some doctors will perform a hearing test to establish the extent of hearing loss caused by Ménière’s disease. To rule out other diseases, a doctor also might request magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans of the brain.

REFERENCES:

NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Mayo Clinic

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