What Is Meniere's Disease?
Ménière’s disease, also called idiopathicendolymphatic hydrops, is a disorder of the inner ear. Although the cause is unknown, it probably results from an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear. Ménière’s disease is one of the most common causes of dizziness originating in the inner ear. Ménière’s disease typically starts between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
What Are The Symptoms?
· Episodic rotational vertigo (attacks of a spinning sensation)
· Hearing loss
· Tinnitus (a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ear)
· Sensation of fullness in the affected ear
How Is A Diagnosis Made?
The physician will take a history of the frequency, duration, severity, and character of your attacks, the duration of hearing loss or whether it has been changing, and whether you have had tinnitus or fullness in either or both ears.
Tests may be ordered to look for these problems in certain cases. When the history has been completed, diagnostic tests will check your hearing and balance functions. They may include:
An audiometric examination (hearing test)
· An ENG (electronystagmograph)
· Rotational testing or balance platform
· Eat properly
· Get plenty of sleep
· Remain physically active
Treating Ménière’s Disease
A low salt diet and a diuretic (water pill) may reduce the frequency of attacks of Ménière’s disease in some patients. In order to receive the full benefit of the diuretic, it is important that you restrict your intake of salt and take the medication regularly as directed. Anti-vertigo medications, e.g., Antivert® (meclizine generic), or Valium® (diazepam generic), may provide temporary relief. Anti-nausea medication is sometimes prescribed. Anti-vertigo and anti-nausea medications may cause drowsiness. Avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol. Get regular sleep and eat properly. Remain physically active, but avoid excessive fatigue. Stress may aggravate the vertigo and tinnitus of Ménière’s disease. Stress avoidance or counseling may be advised. If you have vertigo without warning, you should not drive, because failure to control the vehicle may be hazardous to yourself and others. Safety may require you to forego ladders, scaffolds, and swimming.
When Is Surgery Recommended?
If vertigo attacks are not controlled by conservative measures and are disabling, one of the following surgical procedures might be recommended:
· Intratympanic treatment, also known as chemical labyrinthotomy
· The endolymphatic shunt or decompression procedure
· Selective vestibular neurectomy
· Labryrinthectomy and eighth nerve section