Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder. It is the commonest cause of vertigo. This condition is characterized by episodes of vertigo, ringing in ear, momentary deafness and feeling of pressure in the ear. People in their third or fourth decade of life are more affected, but it can also occur in young individuals. It is more common in men than women.
The exact cause of meniere’s disease is not known, but too much of fluid collection in inner ear is suspected to cause disturbance in maintaining the balance and hearing. Thus it results in ringing noise and vertigo. Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition and there is no permanent cure. However, after an episode there is period of remission which lasts for several months or even years.
Treatment during an attack can reduce the symptoms. Treatment of choice is medicine used for motion sickness and for nausea. Alternate therapies such as acupressure, acupuncture, and homeopathy give relief from the symptom. Recurrence can also be controlled.
Possible Causes Of Meniere’s Disease
The exact etiology of Meniere’s disease is not known. But the accepted theory is either overproduction or reduced absorption of endolymph. The inner ear consists of fluid called endolymph. This fluid is present in membranous structure of inner ear.
Increase of fluid within the membrane causes distension which damages cochlea and three semicircular canals which control hearing and balance. Excess of fluid is called endolymphatic hydrops. With progression of the disease, the damage is irreparable.
The exact mechanism of control of endolymph fluid is not known but may triggers are suspected to play a role in build of this fluid. This include allergies, autoimmune reaction, viral infection, head trauma, migraine etc. Genetic predisposition is not ruled out as many patients have history of same symptoms in their parents or in sisters and brothers.
Signs And Symptoms Of Meniere’s Disease
The classical symptoms of meniere’s disease are:
- Acute episodes of severe vertigo. Patient feels as if the surrounding area is spinning around him. Vertigo can last from several hours to many days.
- Patient fears to walk due to feeling of imbalance.
- Ringing in ears is subjective. Patient feels roaring and swooshing sound in his ear. It affects usually one ear.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fluctuating deafness with period of remission. During this period the patient may be absolutely normal but as the disease advances some amount of deafness remains permanently.
- Pressure inside the ear. Some patients have premonition of the attack as they feel pressure in the ear.
The severity of attack varies from one person to another. They are unpredictable. On an average the episode of vertigo, and other symptoms of meniere’s disease last from few hours to many days.
Treatment Options For Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is not dangerous or life threatening, but when the symptoms develop it can interrupt routine life of a person. Patient often feels emotionally stressed and depressed due to the symptoms.
There is no cure for meniere’s disease. However, there are number of treatment modes that can help to alleviate symptoms and prolong the period of remission. Most of the treatments help to reduce vertigo, but there is no treatment for curing hearing loss caused by meniere’s disease.
Medical practitioners prescribe medicines that are meant for motion sickness, they relieve vertigo to some extent. Sometimes diuretics are also used to relieve fluid buildup.
Home remedies for meniere disease:
- Reduce intake of salt as this may lessen the fluid buildup in the inner ear. Reduce salt in your diet. Also eat less of processed food as many processed foods contain excess of salt.
- Reduce intake of caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee. It helps to relieve tinnitus or abnormal sound in your ear.
- Alternative therapies such as acupressure, homeopathy is effective in alleviating the symptoms. They also help in reducing the recurrences.
- Rest is essential especially during and after the attack.