Meniere’s Disease: An Autoimmune Problem (Or Not?)

meniere's disease, Ménière’s symptoms

Whether Meniere's disease is an autoimmune problem or not has been a hotly debated topic for many years. Some doctors and researchers believe that it has something to do with autoimmunity. Others, on the one hand, say it’s due to other factors.

In this blog post, we will weigh up both sides of the argument. This way, we can shed some light on what patients should do about their Ménière’s symptoms and how to manage common triggers.

What Does Meniere’s Disease Feel Like?

A person diagnosed with Meniere's disease can't take advantage of enjoyable things during attacks. That's because the spinning sensations it causes can result in loss of balance, leading to injury and pain.

Additionally, it often leads to communication and socialization problems because of hearing difficulties caused by ear congestion. It can also restrict physical activities and increase susceptibility to developing mental health problems like stress and anxiety attacks.

If you can’t find a way to avoid Meniere’s disease triggers or resolve its root cause, it can completely redefine your life. So, as soon as you get a confirmation of your vestibular disorder, we strongly recommend planning your next few steps. You can start by retracing your condition’s history.

What Might Be the Reason Behind the Onset of Meniere’s?

Interestingly, the exact root cause of Meniere’s disease remains uncertain until today. Studies continue to look at every possible scenario, from a mild inner ear infection to a slight complicated vertebral misalignment.

If you do quick research, here are some of the usual explanations behind the onset of Meniere's disease:

  • A previous inner ear infection
  • Blood circulation problem
  • Sensitivities or allergies to certain substances
  • Family history of Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular migraines

In other studies, they claim that Meniere’s might be an autoimmune disorder. This might be due to the antibodies that attack endolymphatic cells inside the inner ear.

Is Meniere’s an Autoimmune Problem or Not?

Autoimmune diseases paint a bleak picture filled with pain and suffering. Unfortunately, this is the reality for more than 23.5 million Americans each year. If you’re among these people, you might be wondering, is there a chance health problems such as Meniere’s disease also stems from an autoimmune defect?

Studies show strong links to autoimmune problems and Meniere’s disease. For example, in one study, the researchers explain that one-third of Meniere’s cases seem to have an autoimmune origin. They based their claims on the positive response of a patient after receiving steroid injections.

In a separate study, the researchers say that some Meniere’s cases seem to get triggered by autoimmune factors. And as we have mentioned, it has something to do with the endolymphatic sac. Notably, this specific inner ear organ regulates various immune functions. So when it gets irritated several times in a row, it can potentially trigger the onset of a debilitating vestibular disorder.

meniere's disease, Ménière’s symptoms

What Does This Mean for Patients with Meniere’s?

Thanks to these recent findings, patients like you have a better grasp of your condition. For starters, you now know that besides the usual Meniere’s disease triggers (head injury, infection, stress, and smoking), you also need to avoid allergen-containing substances.

A few examples of these include:

  • Pollen grains
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Animal dander
  • Food products like peanuts, shellfish, and soybeans
  • Insect stings
  • Certain types of medication like penicillin-based antibiotics

Living with Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is not life-threatening or contagious. But even so, it can dampen your quality of life with random symptom attacks that can take days to subside. Luckily, while it can be debilitating, you can potentially work around its symptoms with the help of simple adjustments and helpful remedies.

Coping with Meniere's disease while in transport

Here are some tips to help you better address and manage your Meniere's disease while driving, commuting, or traveling.

  • Try to keep a steady speed and don't accelerate or brake suddenly.
  • Pull over in a quiet area and wait for the vertigo episodes to subside.
  • Ask a loved one or friend to ride shotgun and switch places with you when you go on a long road trip.
  • Bring anti-nausea medication to dampen the symptoms of your episodes.
  • Avoid winding roads that might cause you to lose control of the car.
  • If you're planning to take public transportation, taking a seat near the door may be helpful so you can get off at the next stop when you experience your symptoms.
  • Avoid sitting near noisy people who could trigger an attack.

Managing Meniere's disease when at work

A Meniere's diagnosis can sometimes mean dealing with crippling symptoms every single day. Hence, it would help to have a concrete plan consisting of actionable steps that can provide immediate and sustainable vertigo relief even at the office. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Find the quietest place in the office while you work or on the phone in meetings.
  • Use earplugs or headphones if you don't have other ways to block out noise.
  • Take frequent breaks from computer screens and fluorescent lighting because both light sources can cause headaches and eye strain.

Managing Meniere's symptoms during holidays

Holidays are the best time to bond and celebrate with family and friends. Sadly, these can sometimes leave you vulnerable to experiencing the symptoms of Meniere's disease. Thankfully, you can still enjoy the holidays by following these tips:

  • Try not to overdo it. Don't take on too much activity or stress during the holidays.
  • Ask for help with cooking and cleaning up after meals; this will give you more energy to enjoy other activities during the day.

meniere's disease, vertigo relief

Managing Symptoms and Finding Vertigo Relief

Managing Meniere's disease can feel overwhelming. But there are the best things you can do to help ease your Meniere’s symptoms.

Avoiding triggers

Avoid situations that worsen your symptoms, such as loud noises or stress. You may also want to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks if they're known triggers for you.

Dedicating enough time for exercise

Involvement in certain physical activities can also help manage Meniere's disease and its symptoms. A few stretching, head tilts, bending, and aerobic exercises can support your health and dampen the effects of your Meniere's disease symptoms.

Using a hearing aid

If you have hearing loss due to Meniere's disease, talk with your doctor about getting a hearing aid or cochlear implant. These devices can help improve your ability to hear in noisy situations and reduce fatigue from tiring out your ears from the constant effort of filtering out the sounds around you.

Trying upper cervical care

If you have had Meniere's disease for some time, you may have found that the best treatment for it is a combination of medication, dietary changes, and exercise. Notably, besides these things, we strongly suggest taking advantage of upper cervical chiropractic care. It’s a scientifically proven source of vertigo relief that involves making well-calculated chiropractic adjustments to correct neck bone misalignments.

It is a gentle and noninvasive vertigo remedy that works wonders for a broad spectrum of patients – even those with persisting conditions like Meniere’s.

Its goal is to realign your topmost neck bones, so they follow the natural curvature of your spine and alleviate pressure on your vestibular system. It can also improve fluid drainage in the inner ear – one of the critical factors affecting the prevalence and severity of Meniere's disease symptoms like ear congestion and hearing loss.

If you have Meniere's disease, vertigo, dizziness, or other balance problems, check out Upper Cervical Awareness. The Upper Cervical Awareness page can help you find sufficient information on Meniere's disease, possible vertigo relief options, and upper cervical chiropractors in your area through the UCA doctors portal.

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