What is Ménières Disease
Menieres disease is a condition of the inner ear that affects both the balance and hearing function.
What is the cause of Ménière’s disease?
Although the cause is unknown, it is thought to be due to an increase in pressure and volume in one of the fluid compartments of the inner ear. In some individuals, triggers like allergies, autoimmune disease, genes, hormonal imbalance and stress and fatigue have been linked with menieres disease.
What are the symptoms of Ménière’s disease?
The classic symptoms of menieres disease are:
- Fluctuating hearing loss-
- Intermittent attacks of vertigo-feeling dizzy (like spinning, swaying or tilting) or feeling like the world is spinning. At time with associate nausea (feeling like throwing up)
- Tinnitus- a buzzing, ringing, roaring or hissing sound in the ear
What should I do during an attack of Ménière’s disease?
Lie flat and still and focus on an unmoving object. Often people fall asleep while lying down and feel better when they awaken.
How is a diagnosis of Ménière’s disease made?
Menieres disease is a clinical diagnosis meaning a comprehensive history and physical examination are required to make a diagnosis. There’s no single test to diagnose menieres disease.
However, the ENT doctor might order for tests to make sure you do not have other problems. These tests might include:
- Balance tests
- Hearing tests
- Blood tests
- MRI-this is an imaging test to look at parts of your brain.
Table 1: Functional level score for Meniere’s disease
Is there a cure for Ménière’s disease?
No. there’s no known cure as yet because the underlying cause has not been established. However, modern medicine is able to control the disease on majority of cases.
If there’s no cure, how do I manage Ménière’s disease?
Lifestyle changes-By avoiding certain triggers, the frequency of menieres episodes can be reduced. This triggers are individualized but include avoiding:
- Stress and fatigue
- Excess salt
- Tea and coffee
- Monosodium glutamate
Lifestyle changes also include proper sleep and keeping healthy and fit.
Anti-vertigo medications-This help with the feeling of dizziness and nausea
Intratympanic injections-These are injections of gentamicin or dexamethasone into the middle ear space.
Rehabilitation-This are special exercises that help with balance and tinnitus.
When is surgery recommended?
Surgery is the last option. It is recommended in a minority of patients where conservative measures don’t work and when the symptoms are so bad and disabling that you can’t work, drive or participate in normal daily activities of living.
The content on the Nairobi ENT website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.
- Coelho, Daniel H., and Anil K. Lalwani. “Medical management of Ménière’s disease.” The Laryngoscope6 (2008): 1099-1108.