In the US alone, there are about 45,000 new cases of Meniere’s disease that are diagnosed annually. Researchers have been looking for the solution to Meniere’s disease for 150 years, and yet understanding of this condition is still relatively limited. To begin with, the term disease is really a misnomer since Meniere’s is more of a syndrome. Let’s take a look at Meniere’s disease symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options. This will help you to understand the condition better and may provide you with the hope that you can seek natural care that really works.
Meniere’s Disease Symptoms
Meniere’s disease is a syndrome that is characterized by four particular symptoms. These are:
- Vertigo – You can go from being fully balanced once second to seeing the room spin the next. Vertigo can be severe enough to cause drop attacks (falls) and may last anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours. Early on, this is one of the most debilitating symptoms of Meniere’s and what usually sends someone heading toward the doctor’s office.
- Hearing Loss – As Meniere’s progress, hearing loss in the affected ear grows worse. This can eventually lead to permanent hearing damage. A hearing test is a part of getting a diagnosis for Meniere’s, and it can also help to gauge the progression of the condition.
- Pressure in the Ear- This can be helpful in identifying which ear is the source of the problem. The feeling of pressure or fullness may be due to an overabundance of endolymph, the fluid of the inner ear.
- Tinnitus – Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the ear. It can affect hearing and be very distracting. Patients describe the sounds in many different ways with some even saying it sounds like a hissing, chirping, or whistling sound. This is another symptom that usually grows worse as the condition progresses.
While these are the primary symptoms that identify the syndrome, there are other symptoms that may also occur. For example, a patient may experience nausea and vomiting due to severe vertigo episodes. Vertigo can also cause uncontrollable eye movements called nystagmus.
What Are the Risk Factors for Meniere’s Disease?
While the underlying cause of Meniere’s is still considered to be unknown, there are a number of risk factors that may predispose a person to have this issue. Some of these risk factors include:
- Chronic stress
- Smoking – Yet another good reason to kick the habit.
- Abnormal immune system response
- Illness (upper respiratory or ear, nose, and throat conditions)
- Taking certain prescription medications
- Family history – While the condition is not genetic, a predisposition to it may be
- Allergies – Both seasonal and food allergies
- Alcohol abuse
- Trauma – Primarily head or neck injuries
Conventional Treatment Methods for Meniere’s
There are a number of ways that doctors go after this condition, although you will notice that most of the treatment options address particular symptoms rather than the underlying cause of the condition. This is a common practice when the underlying cause of a particular syndrome is not fully understood.
- Diuretics – These reduce fluid in the body and are prescribed to Meniere’s patients to reduce the amount of fluid in the ears. Watch out for side effects including those that can indicate you are becoming dehydrated.
- Low-sodium diet – This is recommended to keep the body from retaining fluids since salt causes the body to retain more liquid.
- Hearing aids – Hearing aids can help curb the effects of hearing loss which could otherwise lead to faster progression of hearing loss and even a faster degradation of cognitive ability according to some studies that have connected hearing loss and dementia.
- Injections – This is one of the more invasive ways to treat Meniere’s. It involves the use of injecting either antibiotics or steroids directly into the affected ear. The two types of shots have had different degrees of success and varying side effects. For example, the steroid is considered to be the less effective of the two, but the antibiotic shot is more likely to cause permanent hearing damage as a side effect.
- Surgery – Most doctors now consider this to be an out of date treatment method. The success rate of Meniere’s surgery is low, and risk of hearing loss is high. Don’t let a physician talk you into surgery with the idea that your other ear will be fine. Some patients have begun to experience Meniere’s later on in the healthy ear, especially once the condition has advanced.
Natural Care for Meniere’s Patients
Many patients are finding hope thanks to a successful study performed on 300 patients who were suffering from Meniere’s and also had an upper cervical misalignment. 97% of patients in the study experienced a 90% improvement in vertigo as well as significant improvement in other symptoms after seeking upper cervical chiropractic care. This gentle subspecialty of chiropractic involves low force adjustments to the top two bones in the spine. Since they are located at the base of the skull between the ears, a misalignment can have a powerful effect on fluid drainage and may lead to the symptoms noted above.
If you are suffering from Meniere’s disease, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, it makes sense to have your neck examined by an upper cervical chiropractor. If a misalignment exists, you may have just found a natural way to receive significant relief. Get started by scheduling a consultation today with a practitioner near you.
Latest posts by Dr. Bragg (see all)
- The Effect of the Neck on Headaches as We Age - August 12, 2018
- Meniere’s Disease: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment - May 13, 2018