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Meniere’s disease

  • Alternative Names

    Hydrops; Endolymphatic hydrops


    Treatment

    There is no known cure for Meniere's disease. However, lifestyle changes and some treatments can often help relieve symptoms.

    Your doctor may suggest ways to decrease the amount of water or fluid in your body. This can often help control symptoms.

    • Water pills (diuretics) may help relieve fluid pressure in the inner ear.
    • A low-salt diet may also help (See: Sodium in diet)

    Other changes that may help with the symptoms and keep you safe include:

    • Avoid sudden movements, which may worsen symptoms. You may need help walking when you have a loss of balance during attacks.
    • Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during attacks, because they may make symptoms worse. Rest during severe episodes, and slowly increase your activity.
    • Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after your symptoms disappear. A sudden dizzy spell during these activities can be dangerous.

    Symptoms of Meniere's disease can cause stress. Find healthy lifestyle choices to help you cope:

    • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Don't overeat.
    • Exercise regularly, if possible.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
    • Limit caffeine and alcohol.

    Your health care provider may prescribe medicines for nausea and vomiting. Symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo may respond to sedative/hypnotics and benzodiazepines such as diazepam.

    You may need ear surgery if your symptoms are severe and do not respond to other treatment.

    • Cutting the vestibular nerve with a surgical procedure helps control vertigo. It does not damage hearing.
    • Placing an antibiotic called gentamicin directly into the middle ear can help control vertigo.
    • Removing part of the inner ear with a procedure called labyrinthectomy helps with vertigo, but it causes complete hearing loss.

    Hearing aids may be needed for severe hearing loss.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome varies. Meniere's disease can often be controlled with treatment.

    The condition may get better on its own. However, Meniere's may be chronic or disabling.


    Complications
    • Inability to walk or function due to uncontrollable vertigo
    • Hearing loss on the affected side

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of Meniere's disease, such as hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or dizziness, occur or worsen.