What Is Meniere's Disease?
Meniere's (men-yerz') Disease is a disorder of the inner ear, the part of the ear that controls balance as well as hearing. Too much fluid (endolymph) builds up in the inner ear and swelling occurs. The inner ear can't work right and symptoms develop. The cause of Meniere's is not known. Symptoms can be managed in many ways, with medicine or surgery.
Common symptoms include:
- Sudden feeling of spinning or whirling (vertigo) often for more than 20 minutes, along with nausea, vomiting and sweating.
- Ringing or buzzing in the ear (tinnitus).
- Hearing loss, which can get worse as the disease continues.
- Fullness or pressure in the ear.
A diagnosis of Meniere's is made by telling your symptoms to your doctor, a physical exam, a hearing test, balance tests, and maybe scans.
How Is Meniere's Disease Treated?
- Lifestyle changes - Control stress and keep a positive outlook. Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
- Low salt diet - This decreases the extra fluid build up.
- Medicine - These can be used to reduce fluid in the ear. Medications may help ease the symptoms of dizziness, nausea, or anxiety.
- Surgery - There are four types of procedures which can be done if medical treatment does not work.
- Endolymphatic Sac Decompression (ELSD): an incision is made behind the affected ear and bone is removed. This allows for draining of excess ear fluid.
- Gentamicin: injections to ear in office.
- Vestibular Nerve Section: a nerve from a portion of the ear is cut so the brain doesn't get signals that trigger an attack.
- Labryinthectomy: Inner ear is surgically removed. This is only done when patients have lost their hearing.
- Use of a Meniett Device (to apply low-pressure pulses to the ear) or inner ear injections are also used in the office.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/10/2012
Copyright © 04/10/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4483
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