Meniere’s disease is a problem involving the inner ear and affects your hearing and balance. It normally occurs in only one ear at a time. However, in half of those who are diagnosed with it, it develops in the other ear over time. It can affect anyone at any age but is most common in those in the age range of 40 to 60 years. It does not impact one gender more than the other. It is sometimes referred to as endolymphatic hydrops. Symptoms can range from a mild annoyance to extremely disabling depending on the severity and frequency of the attacks.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
- Tinnitus: A noise in the ear that sounds like a machine, a ringing, a roaring, or a buzzing noise. This may occur along with the vertigo attack or it may be constant. It usually will get worse or begin just prior to the onset of vertigo.
- Congestion or a feeling of fullness in the ear: This often happens just before vertigo occurs.
- Hearing loss: This often begins as intermittent in the early stages of the disease but may become permanent. This affects all tones and frequencies of hearing, but lower tones, in particular, can be uncomfortable and distorted in the affected ear.
- Episodic rotational vertigo: This is a spinning sensation that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and disequilibrium. Vertigo is considered the most difficult symptoms to cope with and may last anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours. These attacks can leave you feeling sleepy and unable to do anything until it subsides. The off-balance sensation may last for a few days.
With Meniere’s disease, attacks may happen more often in the first few years of being diagnosed and then taper off. The inner ear is at risk of being damaged in some cases and may not function at its best. Even if the attacks stop, you still may suffer from feeling off balance, permanent hearing loss, and tinnitus.
Some people may experience what is called drop attacks. This causes them to fall suddenly while standing or walking and it comes on with no warning. It has been described as if the person feels like they are being pushed to the ground. They do not pass out and usually recover within a few seconds or minutes.
By seeking care immediately when you suspect you have Meniere’s disease, you may be able to avoid complications such as hearing loss. How is Meniere’s diagnosed?
Diagnosing Meniere’s Disease
When visiting your family physician for help with Meniere’s disease, he or she will usually begin with a physical exam to check your eyes, ears, and nervous system, along with taking a detailed patient history. The doctor may want to know the following:
- Exactly how you feel when you have a vertigo attack
- How long it lasts
- If anything triggers it – like the position of the head or body
- What other symptoms you have besides vertigo, such as hearing loss or nausea
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Some tests might be suggested:
- ENG (electronystagmogram): This measures your eye movements and can help determine where vertigo is originating from.
- CT or MRI of the head: This rules out any problems being caused by the brain.
- Hearing tests: This checks not only hearing ability but can also check to see if the nerve that runs from the inner ear to the brain is functioning at its optimum.
Caring for Meniere’s Disease
There is no cure for Meniere’s disease. However, there are some things that can be done to help ease the symptoms. Your family doctor may recommend some medications:
- Diuretics: These can prevent fluid from building up in your ears, leading to fewer attacks
- Antihistamines: Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
- Sedatives: Diazepam (Valium)
- Scopolamine patch: Transderm Scop
- Antiemetics: To reduce nausea and vomiting
While all of these medications may give you some sense of relief, it is important to remember they do all come with serious side effects. And, unless the underlying cause of Meniere’s is addressed, it will continue to occur.
In more severe cases, doctors may recommend a method that destroys the balance center of the inner ear, hoping to prevent vertigo. This may be done by:
- Chemical ablation: An antibiotic (often gentamicin) is injected in the inner ear to destroy the labyrinth.
- Labyrinthectomy: A surgery is performed to remove the labyrinth.
It is important to be aware that these procedures often cause permanent hearing loss and are usually the last resort.
Meniere’s Disease Treatment Sioux Falls SD
Natural, Safe, and Reliable Relief for Meniere’s Disease
Many patients are seeking a natural way to care for this condition. Thankfully, there is one available that has proven to be effective. A study observing 139 Meniere’s patients showed some interesting results. All 139 of these people remembered having some sort of trauma to their head or neck prior to the onset of their Meniere’s disease. They were given adjustments to their atlas bone – the top bone of the neck – by an upper cervical chiropractor. Out of the 139, as many as 136 saw great improvement in their Meniere’s disease and some saw it go away completely.
Here at Upper Cervical of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we help our patients with Meniere’s disease by using a gentle, precise method to help realign the bones of the upper neck. If either the atlas or axis is misaligned, it could be putting pressure on the brainstem and causing the brainstem to send improper signals to the brain. A misalignment of this sort can also negatively affect the nerve that runs from the inner ear to the brain. Once this misalignment is corrected, many people see relief from the debilitating conditions of Meniere’s disease, as in the study above.
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If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.