Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder characterized by vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and aural fullness. It is a chronic disorder with a familial component, and requires early detection, control and maintenance follow-up.
Meniere’s disease occurs due to various factors which cause endolymph ( which is the fluid bathing the semicircular canals) to build up in the inner ear giving rise to the variety of symptoms patients feel. The more severe the fluid build up, the more severe the disease progresses. Here are various factors that could potentially cause fluid build-up:
- Excessive endolymph production
- Improper fluid absorption due to blockage or anatomic abnormalities
- Hereditary/ genetics
- Autoimmune cause
Meniere’s disease often exhibits the following symptoms:
- Episodes of vertigo which last a few hours
- Patient is completely well in between vertigo attacks
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Feeling of fullness in the ears
- Ears feel like they are going to pop
Treatment for Meniere’s disease deals with reducing the frequency and intensity of the vertigo attacks and other symptoms. Some treatments recommended could include:
- Lifestyle changes: reducing salt in diet, cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Reduce stress.
- Medication to balance salt content in middle ear
- Anti-giddy medications and anti-nausea medication in acute vertigo
- Corticosteroids in acute vertigo
- Hearing rehabilitation and hearing aids
- Balance physiotherapy
- Middle ear steroid injections to improve vertigo
- Surgery such as Endolymphatic sac decompression, labyrinthectomy and rarely, vestibular nerve section.