The Three Stages of Meniere’s Disease – How to Find Natural Relief

Three Stages of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a vestibular condition that is characterized by a number of symptoms including vertigo. Depending on how far along the condition is when a person seeks Meniere’s treatment, symptoms may vary. While Meniere’s patients may not necessarily see all three stages, these can indicate progression of the disease. Let’s take a closer look at the three stages of Meniere’s disease and then we will discuss a way that some patients have been able to attain natural relief.

Early Stage Meniere’s Disease

The first stage or early stage is when the condition causes the most episodes. Flare-ups are unpredictable and may seem to strike at the worst possible moments. This is the stage where diagnosis of most patients happen because the condition makes itself known by means of several symptoms.

First is severe vertigo. The bouts can be so bad that they cause falls or nausea and vomiting. You may even lose some hearing in the affected ear during a bout. When hearing loss occurs, tinnitus often accompanies it. Tinnitus can take the form of ringing in the ear, a buzzing sound, or even a rushing sound.

On top of these other symptoms, the flare-ups can also be very uncomfortable. It may feel as though the ear is full. Attacks usually last a minimum of 20 minutes, and severe episodes can last up to 24 hours, although that is rare. Most of the time, a flare-up will last about 2 to 3 hours.

How often do these attacks occur during the early stage of Meniere’s? Most patients see between 6 and 11 bouts annually. So it is not an everyday occurrence, but you will likely lose a day every one to two months, and there won’t be any warning when it happens.

Middle Stage Meniere’s Disease

The good news is that during the middle stage your vertigo may actually get less severe. It’s tough to complain about less nausea and vomiting. The tradeoff is that hearing loss and tinnitus become worse. During the middle stage, you may experience occasional remission periods. Instead of averaging a bout every month or two, you may occasionally get a few months off in between flare-ups. Meniere’s doesn’t just go away on its own, so there will eventually be another bout coming. You may have just learned how to manage your Meniere’s disease triggers better or perhaps you have made some dietary changes that are helping (a low-sodium diet is a common suggestion).

Late Stage Meniere’s Disease

Once you hit the final stage of Meniere’s disease, vertigo episodes may become few and far between. Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done, so you may suffer from chronic balance issues at this point. This unsteadiness can be even worse in the dark since your body is relying on your eyes more to maintain balance.

This is the stage of Meniere’s where hearing loss and tinnitus reach their peak. At this point, both low and high tones are lost (only low tones are lost early on) leaving a patient with a small middle range of hearing in the affected ear. A hearing test is often a part of diagnosing Meniere’s disease, and it can also identify the stage your condition is at.

While most patients do not reach late stage Meniere’s due to receiving effective care to slow or reverse the progression of the syndrome, those who do experience late stage Meniere’s are at risk for an even bigger problem. While Meniere’s is almost exclusively a one-sided condition, in late stage up to 40% of patients develop Meniere’s in the other ear as well. As a result, total deafness could become a risk, especially if a patient opts for dangerous surgeries that can permanently affect hearing to try and reverse the condition.

Therefore, it makes sense to seek the best possible care as early on as you can before the condition has the chance to reach the late stage. Is there a safe way to find natural relief that does not involve the side effects of medications or the hearing loss risks of surgery? Before we deep dive into this topic, let's first get to know Meniere's a bit more.

Meniere’s Disease: A Problem of 12 out of 1000 People Worldwide

Statistics reveal that 12 out of 1000 individuals across the globe have Meniere’s disease – an inner ear or vestibular problem that causes symptoms such as hearing loss and vertigo attacks. It’s an uncommon cause of balance and hearing problems. Still, it has been gaining more and more public attention thanks to the efforts of celebrity patients who share their experiences with Meniere’s diagnosis and treatment. Studies point to several potential triggers of this debilitating issue. Some of these include:

Endolymphatic hydrops

This refers to a condition that causes an abnormal buildup of fluid (endolymph) in the inner ear chamber. When there’s too much endolymph inside the designated sac, pressure gradually builds up in the ears. Unfortunately, this impacts several organs, including the labyrinth and vestibular nerve – two structures needed to sense movements and sounds.

Frequent allergic reactions

Inhalant and food allergens are widely associated with Meniere’s disease. The allergic reactions caused by certain substances directly impact the endolymphatic sac.

Viral infection

Several research papers claim that patients with Meniere’s can sometimes develop their symptoms after a severe viral infection such as herpes, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus.

Impaired immune system

Some researchers suspect autoimmune issues and overactive immune responses as possible Meniere’s disease triggers. That’s because an immunocompromised body can respond to viruses and other pathogens abnormally. This can lead to several issues that might impact the organs for hearing and sensing movements and balance.

What To Do When You Experience Balance and Hearing Problems

If you frequently experience balance and hearing issues and ticked one or two of the triggers we discussed in the previous section, you might want to consult with your physician or ENT doctor. This way, you can undergo necessary diagnostic procedures to determine if you have Meniere’s or a particular condition affecting your ability to sense movements and sound waves. Below is a short list of the usual differential diagnosis for Meniere’s disease:

  • Otosclerosis
  • Acute vestibular neuritis
  • Acute labyrinthitis
  • Otologic conditions like noise-induced hearing loss
  • Metabolic disorders such as hypo/hyperthyroidism and vitamin deficiencies
  • Neurologic issues like head trauma, meningitis, whiplash, and multiple sclerosis

Head Trauma and Whiplash: A Closer Look at Two Common Meniere’s Triggers

The sooner you get diagnosed, the better shot you have at reducing the impacts of your Meniere’s disease on your daily life. So, we strongly recommend consulting your doctor and reporting your symptoms as well as histories of certain injuries like whiplash and head trauma. Notably, these events can lead to atlas subluxation – a posture issue where the uppermost neckbones (C1 and C2 bones) shift out of place. The displaced bones impinge on nearby structures like the Eustachian tubes, which help keep the fluid balance in the ears. On top of that, the neck bone shifting can also impact your sense of balance because it changes the head’s orientation to the rest of the body. Naturally, the sooner you fix the posture issue, the quicker you can help your body heal and function better. That’s why you might find it helpful to seek an Upper Cervical Care doctor. Doing so will help you receive ample neck bone adjustments to ease the displaced C1 and C2 bones back in place. It will also help improve fluid drainage and remove unnecessary pressure on body parts needed to maintain balance and detect head movements.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Upper cervical chiropractors recognize the correlation between Meniere’s disease and a misalignment of the top two bones of the neck. In case studies, large groups of patients suffering from Meniere’s saw benefits from this safe and gentle form of chiropractic. In fact, in one study of 300 patients, 97% of the participants saw a 90% improvement in vertigo as well as significant improvements in hearing loss and other symptoms.

What is involved in upper cervical chiropractic care? There are also three stages.

  • The examination includes a patient history (which may reveal the cause of the misalignment). Also, a physical examination and the use of diagnostic imaging to pinpoint misalignments down to fractions of a millimeter.
  • The initial care phase involves regular visits to adjust the C1 and C2 vertebrae. Upper cervical chiropractors make sure the alignments hold. Adjustments are only provided when you are out of alignment.
  • Finally, you enter the maintenance phase. At this point, you can schedule your appointments further apart. You will still only receive an adjustment if you are out of alignment when checked.

This process allows you to receive safe and effective care on an as-needed basis. It can save you money in the long run and may lead to overall well-being. Its effects of correcting a C1 and C2 misalignment may not be limited to Meniere’s symptoms. To learn more, find a practice in your area and schedule a consultation.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.