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Meniere’s Treatment

Meniere's Treatment

What is Meniere’s disease?

A chronic vestibular disorder that is defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as an imbalance of the endolymphatic fluid in the inner ear that presents with 4 specific symptoms: episodic (attacks of) vertigo lasting greater than 20 minutes; a low frequency hearing loss; tinnitus (ear noise); and aural fullness (ear pressure). Some people experience ‘drop attacks’ when they can spontaneously fall. Other symptoms may include visual disturbances, nausea/vomiting, imbalance, cold sweats, anxiety and uneasiness. Most people experience an aura prior to an onset of vertigo, such as increased tinnitus, lightheadedness, imbalance, sound sensitivity, or ear pressure. If auras occur, a person should move to a safe place and be still.

What is the cause?

Unknown, but many agree that head/neck traumas, genetics, circulation problems, allergies, viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and/or migraines may be potential causes.

What is the treatment?

A low sodium diet is typically prescribed to decrease the likelihood for fluid increases in the inner ear.
Medications are typically used to control symptoms during attacks such as benzodiazapams, anti-nausea medications (Phenergan, Zofran) and meclizine. Many are prescribed a diuretic (water pill) to prevent fluid buildup.
Vestibular rehabilitation is typically used to treat people with Meniere’s to be done between episodes to attempt to re-balance and move the fluid in the inner ear. It is also helpful for input to the brain to reprocess the wrong information received from the inner ear and to promote adaptations for balance and movement tolerances.
Most people can be managed with medical management and rehabilitation. When this does not work, chemical or surgical ablations may be recommended, but this should only be considered if other treatments are not successful.
Also, if an underlying cause of Meniere’s has been identified such as autoimmune disorders, migraines, etc, then these conditions should be medically treated.
Can Meniere’s go away on its own?
Typically, no, but there are cases when Meniere’s spontaneously goes away over time.
What triggers episodes of Meniere’s’?
High sodium content foods, barometric pressure changes, injuries, watching visual motion or being in visually stimulating environments, lights/ motion, stress, fatigue and/or other illnesses, and episodes may be spontaneous with no obvious provocations.
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