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Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a chronic recurring condition. It is due to a problem with the inner ear, the part of the ear responsible for balance as well as hearing. Symptoms include:

  • Sudden attacks of vertigo: Vertigo is a spinning or whirling feeling that causes balance problems. These attacks often include nausea, vomiting, and sweating. During an attack of vertigo, head movement and body position changes will worsen symptoms.

  • Hearing problems: Hearing is often partly or completely lost during the vertigo attack, then comes back. Over time, though, hearing can be affected.

  • Tinnitus: This is ringing, buzzing, whistling, or roaring noises in the ear. It may come and go or always be present. 

  • A feeling of pressure of fullness in the ear.

Attacks may occur weeks, months, or even years apart. Each episode of vertigo may last 20 minutes to several hours. The symptoms are due to changes in fluid in the inner ear canals, but the exact cause is not known. 

Treatment for Meniere’s disease includes lifestyle changes, medicines, and medical procedures. Surgery may be recommended in severe cases.

Home care

Medicines

You may be prescribed medicine to take regularly to help prevent attacks. You may also be prescribed medicine to take only during attacks. Take these as directed.

Lifestyle changes

These lifestyle changes can help make attacks less frequent or less severe. 

  • Reduce your salt intake. Eating too much salt can make this condition worse. A common recommendation is to limit sodium to no more than 2,300 mg a day. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to limit sodium in your diet.

  • Quit smoking.

  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.

  • Try to limit stress.

During Attacks

If an attack is about to start or has started, take any medicine you have been prescribed for an attack. Lie down on a firm surface in a darkened room. Stay as still as possible. Avoid bright light. Do not try to read or watch TV. Don't get up until the spinning passes.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider for further evaluation and treatment. If you have been referred to a specialist, schedule that appointment promptly.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Worsening of symptoms

  • Increased weakness or fainting

  • Headache or unusual drowsiness

  • Difficulty with speech or movement

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

 

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