Ménière’s Disease


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

The ear and your balance

The inner ear has loop-shaped canals that contain fluid and fine hair-like structures. These canals help in regulating your balance. The base of the canal has sensing cells which play a major role in monitoring the position of your head in a certain direction with respect to gravity. This is signaled to the brain and it helps you to be aware of the space around you. Example: tilting your head forward. The functions of the inner ear are:

  • To monitor the body’s movements
  • To convert the sound waves into nerve signals to transport to the brain
  • Maintaining the body’s balance

A brief understanding of vertigo

  • Vertigo is a state of perplexed and spinning dizziness.
  • This is because of some problem with your inner ear or the brain or the signaling pathway between the two.
  • It affects a person’s ability to function in daily life and can lead to depression or anxiety. It is usually rooted in psychological disorders.

What is Ménière’s disease?

Ménière’s disease is a condition that is a mash-up of vertigo, tinnitus (you tend to hear a ringing sound in your ears), and progressive deafness. In simple terms, this disease is the improper functioning of the inner ear. There is no cure, but there are some treatments that can ease this condition.

 Symptoms

  • Vertigo is one of the most obvious symptoms of Ménière’s disease. The spinning feeling occurs even if you are not moving.The symptoms of Ménière’s disease vary from person to person. They can occur suddenly. The frequency and duration of this disease are
  • The symptoms of Ménière’s disease are often referred to as an “attack”. This attack can range between 2 – 4 hours.
  • You never know when a vertigo attack occurs. Vertigo can interfere with driving, while operating heavy types of equipment, climbing ladders, stairs, swimming, etc. So it is safe if you have vertigo medication in hand at all times. You can carry it in your pocket or your purse.
  • If you have this disease, it is possible that you tend to experience anxiety, stress, and depression. Such a person will feel stressed or worried. It will definitely impact the working lifestyle negatively.
  • You may find it difficult to interact with others due to the worsening hearing problems. It will affect your working tendency, jobs, driving, etc. It is important to communicate with your doctor about all this.

 

Vertigo symptomsTinnitus sounds
dizzinessringing
vomitingbuzzing
nausearoaring
irregular heartbeatwhistling
sweatingHissing

Stages of Ménière’s disease development

There are three stages:

Early stage

  • Sudden and unpredictable episodes of vertigo
  • Duration of the episodes: 20 minutes to 24 hours
  • There will be some hearing loss during these episodes which will return to normal after the episode is over.
  • Your ear feels uneasy and blocked.
  • The ear will feel full or pressurized.
  • This stage is also accompanied by

 Middle stage

  • Vertigo episodes continue but become less intense.
  • Worsening of tinnitus and hearing loss
  • The symptoms might vanish for several months.

Later stage

  • Lesser recurrence or vanishing of vertigo episodes
  • Your balance related problems continue to exist.
  • You may feel wobbly when it is dark.
  • Hearing and tinnitus get worse gradually.

Why do changes in the fluid of ear occur?

For all the inner organs to function properly, the fluid must have the ideal pressure, volume, and chemical composition. The certain factors in Ménière’s disease that alter the properties of the inner ear fluid and this triggers the confusing effects. The following are the factors that contribute to changes in the fluid present in your ear.

  • Any block in your ear or any flaw in your ear can lead to improper fluid drainage
  • The improper functioning of the immune system
  • Allergies
  • Viral infection
  • Changes in the gene related activities
  • Head trauma
  • Migraines

There is no single causative factor of Meniere’s disease. That is why it is a resultant of a combination of these above factors.

Complications

  • The sudden onset of vertigo and the future hearing loss itself is a very depressing factor of Meniere’s disease.
  • This disease can disrupt the normalcy of your life.
  • You will feel very tired, emotionally stressed, and you might get into depression as well.
  • Because this disease is characterized by vertigo, there will be more incidences of imbalances and falls or accidents.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will ask you about the following features:

  • The severity of the symptoms
  • The frequency of the symptoms
  • Medications being consumed
  • Past ear problems
  • General health condition
  • Any history of infectious diseases or allergies
  • Any family history of inner ear problems

 Diagnostic tests conducted 

  • Audiogram – The doctor will perform an audiogram to evaluate the hearing loss. This a hearing test where you will be subjected to varying levels of tones or pitches and this will help in determining the type, and degree of hearing loss. Here the individual listens with the headphones and indicates when a sound is heard or unheard. The data is then tabulated graphically.

Assessing your balance

  •  Electronystagmography (ENG): The ear canal will be passed with warm and cool water or air. Then, the involuntary eye movements in response will be measured. Any abnormalities will indicate an inner ear problem.
  •  Rotary-chair testing: Here, the individual will be made to sit on a chair in a small, dark booth. Electrodes are placed near the eyes. The computer-guided chair will rotate back and forth at varying speeds in a gentle manner. This will stimulate the inner balance system and causes eye movements that are recorded by a computer and monitored with an infrared camera.
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) testing: This test measures the function of certain sensors in the inner ear that detect acceleration.
  • Posturography: You will be provided with a safety harness. Then, you will be made to stand barefoot on a special platform to test your balance under various conditions.

What kind of diet changes can you include?

  • When the meal you eat is uniformly distributed throughout the day, it helps in regulating the fluid. In simpler terms, you can divide your meal into small portions for a day. Instead of taking 3 larger meals, you can consume six smaller ones.
  • Consume less salt. Less salt means less fluid retention. Here cells tend to absorb salt. As the salt is absorbed with the cell, the water molecule also gets absorbed easily (cells retain water). So more salt consumption means, more fluid retention and the converse is true as well.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic (causes tendency to urinate and even sweat). Frequent urination or sweating results in fluid This leads to dehydration. So, the cells will be of the notion to save the existing water content thereby retaining the fluid within them. The more severe the dehydration, harder will your body have to work to reserve water.
  • You now know the concept of dehydration and how the body works to save water. Dehydration need not just be because of alcohol. A hot weather condition, diarrhea, physical exercises, or traveling, can result in water loss from your body. That is why it is important to hydrate your body. Drink lots of water. It also helps in flushing out the alcohol or the toxins.
  • Refrain from foods rich in tyramine. Tyramine is an amino acid known to magnify the blood pressure thereby increasing the headaches, migraines, sweating, vision changes, vomiting, etc. It is best to avoid or limit the intake of tyramine-containingCheddar cheese, blue cheese, soybean curd, tofu, smoked meats or fish, ripe cheeses, red wine, yogurts, nuts, etc., are foods that contain tyramine.
  • Ginkgo Biloba or the Maidenhair tree is native to China and is popular in the United States and Europe. It contains flavones, glycosides, and These compounds prevent the blood cells from sticking and helps in improving the blood circulation in the inner ear.
  • GingerGinger contains compounds called gingerol, and shogaols. They have good anti-clotting properties. These components prevent blood cells from clumping thereby improving the circulation of the blood around the inner ear. You can add it to tea or boil it with water and consume the extract with honey. There are many ways in which you can incorporate ginger into your diet.
  • Butcher’s Broom – This is also called as Ruscusaculeatus. It contains compounds such as asruscogenin and neoruscogenin which improve the blood circulation.
  • Cayenne pepper has a compound called capsaicin that reduces blood stickiness and helps improve the blood flow to the inner ear and the brain. It is considered as a thermogenic herb (enhances the metabolic rate thereby increasing the heat).

 What are the treatment options for Meniere’s disease?

Medications

  • Drugs to treat motion sickness (spinning sensation along with nausea and vomiting)
  • Drugs to treat nausea
  • Diuretics to reduce fluid retention

Reduction of the amount of fluid the body retains, the fluid volume and pressure in the inner ear will improve, resulting in less severe and less frequent symptoms.

Middle ear injections

Some antibiotic or steroidal injections are made into the middle ear.

Surgery

Surgery may be an option if other treatments have not worked or if symptoms are severe. Surgery options include:

  • Endolymphatic sac decompression – The endolymphatic sac is a fluid-filled membranous structure in the inner ear. The endolymphatic decompression surgery involves removal of a small portion of the bone from the endolymphatic sac to alleviate the pressure.
  • Labyrinthectomy – a portion of the inner ear is surgically removed.
  • Vestibular nerve section – In this surgery, the nerve is cut. The vestibular nerve is a nerve conveying the response of the ear to the brain.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy – This involves exercises and activities that help restore the balancing ability of your body and brain.
  • If you have a hearing loss, you can be benefitted from a hearing aid.

How to treat the condition the Ayurvedic way?

Ayurveda advocates the use of Panchakarma therapy for healing the problems associated with Meniere’s disease. This treatment helps to deeply cleanse the tissues, wash out the toxins, tackles stress and reduces deep-rooted anxiety.

It is comprised of 5 methods:

  • Removal of phlegm – Madanphala or Randiadumetorum is greatly used here as a version of medical vomiting.
  • Cleansing of the digestive system – The roots of Trivrit (Operculinaturpethum) is done here for a medical or therapeutic cleansing of the digestive system.
  • Herbal decoctions are used to inject in the abdomen as an enema procedure.
  • Nasal administration of herbal medicine to treat migraines, sinusitis, etc.
  • Blood purification is done.

All the above treatment measures help the patient achieve a balanced state of mind, body, and consciousness through detoxification and rejuvenation.

Patients undergoing this method must undergo oil massages and oil baths to sweat out the toxins. Panchakarma therapy helps in minimizing the symptoms and is also relaxing in nature.  You can consult a trained medical practitioner regarding tailoring this therapy to your body’s condition.

Facts

  • This disease usually impacts only one ear.
  • About 95% of the cases of Meniere’s disease can be managed with good medical treatment.
  • It affects both men and women equally.

 

Facts

  • The data published by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders accentuates on the fact that approximately 615,000 people in the United States have Ménière’s.

Facts

  • This disease can occur at any age, but most of the time it occurs between the age of 40 and 60 years.
  • About 60000 new cases crop up every year.

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Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…