What is it? What causes it? What can we do to manage it?
Meniere’s Disease is a malfunction of the inner ear due to increased fluid pressure. It also is termed as the “glaucoma of the inner ear”. It means that there is pressure in the ear causing the feeling of vertigo, like your world is spinning. It can stop as spontaneously as it starts. The vertigo can last anywhere from 30 minutes up to several hours. What makes it different from the other inner ear disease is there is a feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear, or you can hear what sounds like an echo, ringing or tinnitus, and hearing loss that fluctuate at times. Hearing loss can eventually go to the other ear if left untreated.
The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown. Because there is no single cause that has been identified and it could be a result of a combination of factors. Some of the factors include improper drainage of the fluid in the ear because of blockage or abnormality, allergies, viral infection or ear infection, genetic predisposition, or head trauma.
When you have these symptoms, go to your doctor. It is very important that it is identified and treated as soon as possible. The symptoms have to be medically manage by the doctor either through medication, or surgery. It is also important for you to start Vestibular Rehabilitation (VR) as soon as you can. VR can help you manage your dizziness / vertigo faster and easier, pain free.
You can also manage your symptoms with some lifestyle changes. Reducing salt intake and avoiding heavily processed food will help, not just with your Meniere’s disease, but also with your blood pressure. Watch your sugar intake. To some people, it is a trigger. Avoid caffeine, tobacco or nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs. Create a journal. Write down your triggers, something that makes your symptoms worse, and try to avoid them. Each person has their own triggers, writing them down will help identify your stressors and therefore give you an opportunity to control them. A good night sleep, daily exercise and healthy eating habits will also be helpful.