Meniers' Disease

Meniere's disease is also called idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops. It is a disease of the inner ear. Although the cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, it probably results from an abnormality in the way fluid of the inner ear is balanced. Most of the time only one ear is involved, but in some cases both ears may be affected. Meniere’s disease usually starts between the ages of 18 and 45 years of age. Both genders are equally affected. The symptoms may range from minor discomfort to severe attacks of vertigo. The attacks usually come without warning.

The symptoms of Meniere’s disease:

  • Episodic rotational vertigo: this are attacks of a spinning sensation along with by loss of equilibrium (an imbalance in posture), nausea, and at times vomiting. The duration of vertigo may be from 10 minutes to few hours to a couple of days. Patient may feel excessively sleepy with vertigo.

  • Tinnitus: patient gets a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ear. It may be experienced just at the time of attack of vertigo or it may be constant. The tinnitus increases before the onset of the vertigo.

  • Hearing loss: It may be intermittent early in the onset of the disease, but with progress of illness it may become a permanent hearing loss. It may most commonly occur in the lower frequencies. Loud sounds are uncomfortable and sound distorted in the affected ear.

  • Ear fullness: Usually this full feeling occurs before an attack of vertigo.

The diagnosis of Meniere’s disease is primarily made on the history and physical examination. An audiogram is helpful to show a hearing loss, and to rule-out other abnormalities. Early in the onset of the disease, the audiogram is normal between the attacks during early phase of illness. In advance stage it may show a permanent hearing loss. If an audiogram is done during or immediately following an attack of vertigo, it will be more helpful. This may effectively demonstrate typical low frequency hearing loss.

Other tests for Meniere's disease:

  • Auditory brain stem response (ABR)

  • CT scan of brain

  • MRI of brain

Diet and life style changes for Meniere's disease:

  • A low salt

  • Avoid caffeine

  • Avoid smoking

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Regular sleep and

  • Remaining physically active

  • Avoid stress and

  • Avoid excessive fatigue

Although there is no real cure for Meniere’s disease, the attacks of vertigo can be controlled in nearly all cases. If you have vertigo without warning, you should not drive, because failure to control the vehicle may be hazardous to yourself and to others. Safety may require you to forego ladders, scaffolds, and swimming. The unpredictable episodes of vertigo are usually the most debilitating problem of Meniere's disease. The episodes often force a person to lie down for several hours and lose time from work or leisure activities, and they can cause embarrassment. Vertigo can also increase your risk of fall, Accidents while driving a car or operating heavy machinery, Depression or anxiety in dealing with the disease.

Certain self-care measures:

  • Sit or lie down immediately when you feel dizzy

  • Rest during and after attacks.

  • Be aware of the possibility of losing your balance

  • Avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery

Meniere's disease may affect your interaction with friends and family, your productivity at work, and the overall quality of your life. You may find encouragement and understanding in a support group. Group members can provide information, resources, support and coping strategies. Your doctor may be able to recommend a group in your area, or you may find information about local groups from the Vestibular Disorders Association.

Role of Homeopathy in Meniere's disease:

Homeopathy has been helpful in almost all cases of Meniere's disease. The control of symptoms like vertigo, dizziness is achieved in reasonable time duration. Recovery in long standing hearing loss in chronic cases of Meniere’s disease is not very encouraging with homeopathic medicines. Regular course of homeopathic treatment may benefit in reducing the intensity and frequency of attacks of vertigo to more than 90%. The duration of treatment depends on the duration of illness, stage at which the homeopathic treatment is started and extent of damage occurred in the inner part of ear.