In the early 1800s, Prosper Meniere was the first to identify this disease now called Meniere’s disease. He recognized that the problem that caused the symptoms of this particular illness had to do with the ear, and not the brain. Back then, people believed this disease was caused by a problem with the brain. Today, studies reveal that Meniere’s disease is a condition of the inner ear. It is also known for producing the following symptoms:
- Feeling as if the world around you or you are spinning or rotating (vertigo)
- A ringing noise in the ear (tinnitus)
- Hearing loss that is irregular at first but may become permanent if left untreated
- A feeling that your ear is congested or full
- Feeling off-balance
- Nausea, vomiting, and sweating
Often, it only affects one ear. However, in due time, if left untreated, both ears may become affected. Episodes may last around 20 minutes up to 3 hours. The time between each episode may vary. Unfortunately, ringing in the ears or hearing loss may become worse or constant over time.
Care Alternatives for Meniere’s Disease
If you or someone you love gets diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, contact your family doctor. He or she is most likely going to recommend any of the following:
Dizziness and vertigo, for most people, are the worst symptoms to cope with. However, medications can only deal with specific symptoms of Meniere’s, not the condition itself. Drugs such as diazepam, glycopyrrolate, meclizine, and lorazepam can help relieve dizziness. They can also shorten the duration of vertigo episodes.
Dietary and Lifestyle Modifications
Caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate intake can exacerbate various symptoms of Meniere’s. As a result, they avoid or limit taking these substances altogether. Also, if you are a smoker, quitting may prove very helpful too.
Salt Restrictions and Diuretics
Putting a limit on your salt intake can help control and limit dizziness or vertigo attacks. It is also true if you take water pills. Thus, it would start putting a limit on your water retention levels and also help limit the fluid clogging in your ear.
This particular talk therapy can help the patient focus on how to react appropriately to life’s stresses and pressures. Therefore, there is a higher chance of coping with Meniere’s disease. As a result, people who do this are more mentally and psychologically prepared for unexpected attacks. It can help with anxiety issues and prevent depression.
An antibiotic called gentamicin is injected into the middle ear. It can help control vertigo. However, there is a risk involved. Hearing loss can be a possible side effect because it can damage the tiny hairs of the inner ear.
Another option for some doctors would be to use corticosteroids instead. This one can reduce dizziness without the possible risk of hearing loss.
This option is only used as a last resort because it is irreversible. It is often recommended when all other kinds of care options have already failed to work. Surgery can decompress the endolymph sac or cut off your vestibular nerve.
Pressure Pulse Devices
It is a device that is recently approved by the FDA. The pressure pulse device fits into the outer ear to deliver irregular pulses of air into the middle ear. It would help people with Meniere’s counteract the incorrect messages or signals sent by the endolymph fluid. Thus, these pressure pulses would help prevent dizziness or vertigo episodes.
What Really Causes Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere’s disease can be due to the excess build-up of fluid in the labyrinth – the compartments of the inner ear. The labyrinth is composed of the otolithic organs, the semicircular canals, and the cochlea. They are responsible for keeping your balance and hearing.
The labyrinth has two compartments – the membranous labyrinth and the bony labyrinth. The membranous labyrinth is filled with fluid called endolymph which works to stimulate the receptors every time the body is moving. The cochlea responds to sound vibrations that stimulate sensory cells and send signals to the brain using the fluids compressed.
When a person has Meniere’s disease, the endolymph builds up in the labyrinth. The excess build-up of fluid interferes with the normal functions of the ear: hearing and sense balance. Also, when the signals between the inner ear and the brain become distorted, it would result in vertigo and other symptoms.
Various theories try to explain how people get Meniere’s disease, and other people don’t. Unfortunately, there are no complete and definite answers. Some believe it is due to blood vessels constricting, similar to what happens when people get migraines. Others believe that Meniere’s disease is due to allergies, viruses, or autoimmune reactions. This condition does not appear to run in families.
Other Tips To Help With Meniere’s Disease
Here are a few other suggestions that can prove helpful if you have Meniere’s disease:
Manage Your Stress
Anxiety and worry can trigger stress hormones release, which can bring about Meniere’s disease symptoms. An excellent way to counter this would be to manage your stress levels. Try breathing exercises, and take enough time daily to relax. Try yoga, meditation, or swimming during the day. These can help you reduce your pains and frustrations. Proper breathing helps you rest better.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Does drinking water help Meniere’s disease? It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Drinking a lot of water can help reduce your body’s water retention, not add to it. How? It works to remove the excess salts in the body through urination. Thus, it is a healthy way of keeping the body from holding on to too much water. Less salt in the body means less water retention.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
There are some hard to digest food, and they can cause inflammation or irritation throughout your body. Therefore, eating mild and easily digestible kinds of food is always a good option.
Balance Your Carbohydrates And Protein
Keeping your blood sugar levels controlled is an essential factor in controlling Meniere’s disease. Have a proper diet, preferably one that is recommended by a food nutritionist or dietician.
Avoid Sugar Substitutes And MSG
Both sugar and monosodium glutamate have close links to Meniere’s disease. Use natural herbs and spices for your food seasoning instead of MSG.
The Recommended Way to Deal with Meniere’s Disease
There is a connection between Meniere’s disease and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The atlas and axis bones protect the brainstem. If for any reason, they become misaligned, they may disrupt the brainstem function. Thus, the brainstem becomes pressured and stressed, leading to improper sending of signals to the brain. As a result, it would cause vertigo and can also affect how the body handles the fluids contained in your inner ear.
What causes misalignments? Here are some reasons:
- Car accidents
- Sporting injuries
- Slipping, tripping, and falling accidents
- Any head or neck trauma or injuries
Upper cervical chiropractors use a practical, precise, and gentle method of correcting and realigning these bones back into their proper positions. Thus, it would allow the body to heal appropriately from all damage done by the misalignment. As a result, the nervous system functions back to its optimum performance. Numerous patients who received upper cervical care enjoyed significant improvement in their Meniere’s disease symptoms and vertigo.