Meniere’s disease is an ailment that affects the inner ear, and it is responsible for causing vertigo. For those who don’t know what vertigo is, this condition usually causes some dizziness, and you’ll feel like your head is spinning.
The condition will cause ringing in the inner part of the ear. The hearing loss will come and go. You’ll also experience some pressure in your ear. In most cases, only one ear will be affected. Eventually, the hearing loss becomes permanent.
What are the Causes of Meniere’s Disease?
The specific cause of the ailment is not known; however, the doctors usually assume that they understand more about the condition’s symptoms. For starters, the fluid build-up in the inner part of the ear is referred to as labyrinth, and it usually holds the structures responsible for balance and hearing. The extra fluid will interfere with the signals in the brain, and you’ll end up suffering from vertigo and hearing issues.
The main reason why people end up suffering from Meniere’s disease is not well established. The researchers have come up with different theories about what usually affects the fluids in the inner part of the ear, and they include:
- Autoimmune response- the body’s defense system will attack the cells that are healthy
- Poor drainage- the structure of the ear is abnormal
- Viral infection
- Allergic reaction
- A blow to the head
- Inherited tendency
- Migraine headaches
Some issues may come together and cause Meniere’s disease.
What are the Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease?
This is a progressive disease, and it means it will get worse with time. It starts slowly, and you’ll end up experiencing hearing loss. Vertigo usually develops later. For those who feel dizzy, it is good to lie or sit down. Ensure you’re not engaging in any movement since it will make everything worse. Also, you should not attempt to drive.
Some of the symptoms that you’ll experience include:
- Rapid pulse and cold sweat
- Diarrhea and nausea
- Blurry vision
The attacks usually last for at least 20 minutes. They can even go up to 24 hours. You can get several attacks weekly, or they’ll come months apart. Afterward, you’ll feel tired, and there is the need to rest.
As Meniere’s disease progresses, the symptoms usually change. The tinnitus and hearing loss usually become constant. You’ll have some issues with your vision and balance; the occasional vertigo bouts will fade away.
Depending on whether you have Meniere’s disease, you should contact a doctor. You should not assume that things will get better without seeking treatment.
How is the Condition Diagnosed?
When you seek medical attention, the doctor will ask you about the symptoms that you’re experiencing. Also, the medic will need to learn about your medical history. Some tests will also be carried out to test your hearing and balance.
Some of the tests the doctor will conduct include:
- Electronystagmogram- this is a test that will help to evaluate your balance. The doctor will place you in a dark room, and they will measure your eye movements while warm and cool air blows through the ear canal
- Rotary chair testing- this will allow the medic to determine how the eye movement will affect the inner ear
- Audiometric exam- the test will help to determine whether you have hearing loss in one ear. A test will also be carried out to determine the difference between words such as “sit” and “fit.” The test is referred to as speech discrimination
- Posturography- This test will help determine your balance and whether you can maintain it well. You need to stand barefoot and also move in different directions. You’ll wear a harness, and it will allow the doctor to monitor the manner in which you’ll respond as you move in a particular manner
- Electrocochleography- this is a test that will help to measure the fluid pressure in the inner part of the ear
How is Meniere’s Disease Treated?
A hearing aid will come in handy. Some treatments can also ease the fluid buildup and vertigo in the ear.
Some medication can be administered for motion sickness, and it will assist with vertigo. The medicine used to treat nausea will ease the vomiting since it might be a side effect that arises because of dizziness. Some of the drug treatments that can be administered include:
- Steroids- if the doctor thinks that your immune system has some issues, they can administer steroids.
- Diuretics- the medication will help to reduce the fluid present in your ear. The medicine ensures that the body won’t retain any fluids. As you take diuretics, there is the need to ensure that you have cut on the amount of salt that you take in daily
Besides taking medication, there is the need to ensure that you undergo therapy to assist with the balance issues. You can liaise with an allergist in New Jersey, and they’ll guide you on everything.
- VRT (Vestibular rehabilitation therapy)- this is an exercise program that normally retrains the brain to use different senses, including vision, and it normally helps with balance
- Physical therapy- the therapist will administer some exercises that you should handle routinely, and they’ll help with dizziness and imbalance, among other problems. You need to stay active and engage in exercises such as walking
The injections will go directly to the inner ear, and they’ll help to ease vertigo. The doctors usually choose antibiotics known as gentamicin, and it is toxic to the inner ear. The affected ear’s function will reduce, and the “good” ear will handle the balance issue. The procedure will be administered in the doctor’s office, and you’ll be given something to ensure you won’t feel any pain as you get injected.
You now have an in-depth understanding of what Meniere’s disease is. We have listed the symptoms and the causes of the ailment. It can also be treated using certain medications. If you experience any of the listed symptoms, there is the need to seek medical attention.