Meniere’s Disease – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Meniere’s disease, is a disorder of the inner ear. It is also called idiopathicendolymphatic hydrops. The exact cause of the disease remains unknown. The disorder usually affects only one ear and is a common cause of hearing loss. However, it’s a “chronic” problem, which means that it lasts a long time. People with Meniere’s disease don’t have symptoms all the time. When symptoms occur, it’s called an “attack.” Periodic attacks of vertigo is the most disruptive of the symptoms to the patient. It is usually the vertigo attack which causes the patient to seek medical treatment. The severe vertigo subsides and balance may takes weeks to return to normal. Once the vertigo attack is over, hearing often improves. The severe vertigo subsides and balance may takes weeks to return to normal. Once the vertigo attack is over, hearing often improves. The onset of vertigo may be preceded by a sensation of fullness or pressure in the ear, increased hearing loss and tinnitus, as described below. The onset is frequently sudden, reaching peak intensity within minutes and lasting for an hour or more before subsiding. People with Meniere’s Disease report that tinnitus may be variable and often worsen before an attack of vertigo. Tinnitus is often described as a motor-like whirring noise present only in the ear with the hearing loss.

The prevalence of Meniere’s disease is difficult to assess. It most commonly affects people in their 40’s and 50’s, although individuals from 20 onwards may be affected, as in the picture below. It is rarely, though occasionally reported in children. Men and women are affected in equal numbers. Many experts on Ménière’s disease think that a rupture of the membranous labyrinth allows the endolymph to mix with perilymph, another inner ear fluid that occupies the space between the membranous labyrinth and the bony inner ear. Attacks usually last from 20 minutes to 2 hours or longer. Hearing fluctuation or changes in tinnitus may also precede an attack. A Meniere’s episode generally involves severe vertigo (spinning), imbalance, nausea and vomiting. Diagnosis is difficult because other conditions present some of the same symptoms, so diagnostic testing is critical, including radiological studies. It affects both ears in only about 30% of patients. Meniere’s disease may occur in clusters; that is, several attacks may occur within a short period of time. However, years may pass between episodes. Between the acute attacks, most people are free of symptoms or note mild imbalance and tinnitus.

Causes of Meniere’s disease

The common causes and risk factor’s of Meniere’s disease include the following:

The exact cause of the disease remains unknown.

Abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear.

Viral illness, respiratory infection, stress, fatigue, use of prescription or nonprescription drugs including aspirin, and a history of allergies, smoking, and alcohol use.

Genetic risk factors.

Environmental factors, such as noise pollution and viral infections, as well as biological factors.

Symptoms of Meniere’s disease

Some sign and symptoms related to Meniere’s disease are as follows:

Headache.

Periodic episodes of rotatory vertigo or dizziness.

Hearing loss.

A sensation of fullness in the affected ear.

Vertigo.

Noises or ringing in one ear ( tinnitus ).

Nausea, vomiting.

Dizziness.

Ear fullness.

Sweating (may be profuse).

Unsteadiness.

Treatment of Meniere’s disease

Here is list of the methods for treating Meniere’s Disease:

The symptoms of the disease are often controlled successfully by reducing the body’s retention of fluids through dietary changes (such as a low-salt or salt-free diet and no caffeine or alcohol) or medication.

Medications that decrease symptoms (eg, meclizine [Antivert], droperidol [Inapsine], diazepam [Valium], lorazepam [Ativan], alprazolam [Xanax]) only mask the vertigo.

Supportive measures, such as IV rehydration if vomiting has been severe, should be initiated, as indicated.

Drugs such as prochlorperazine (Compazine) can control nausea and vomiting.

Lipoflavanoid is also recommended for treatment by some doctors.