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Ménière's Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on June 15, 2019
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Diagnosed with Ménière's disease in 2006, the author has strived to manage the effects of tinnitus and vertigo with alternative remedies.

Ménière's Disease
Ménière's Disease | Source

What Is Ménière's Disease?

Ménière's disease is an inner ear disorder that causes vertigo, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, tinnitus and sometimes hearing loss. It normally only affects one ear.

The onset of an attack is sudden and often without warning. It can reach peak intensity within a matter of minutes. An attack lasts for hours or several days and is characterised by a sensation of “fullness” in the affected ear.

Unsteadiness, a general feeling of malaise and extreme fatigue often persists for some considerable time after an attack.

There is no known medical cure for Ménière's disease.

Ménière's Disease Symptoms

I didn’t realise it at the time, but in February 2006, my life began to change. I had just come out of the shower and, for the first time ever in my life, was aware of a strange noise in my left ear. Although it was extremely annoying, I was not unduly worried. I dismissed the irritant as having got some water in my ear from showering.

When I returned to work on the Monday morning, the problem had not abated. I discussed it with several colleagues, most of whom also concluded that I had obviously got water in my ear. One even suggested I try standing on my head to help the water drain out!

Although I did not connect the two problems, at the time, I had begun to be aware of difficulties with my balance, the year prior.

On several occasions I would be walking along a corridor in work and would suddenly be conscious of the fact that I was literally swaying from one side to the other.

There followed a spate of incidents where I began to suddenly feel unwell in work. I felt extremely dizzy and sick. My head was spinning.

Totally “out of sorts.” I had to get home to bed, a commute of some 30 minutes. 3 miles from home, I pulled the car over to the side of the road. I was going to be sick.

Lying in bed, it was difficult to turn over. Any movement in my head made the whole room spin. I was also sweating profusely.

Surely I couldn’t be going through the menopause so early in life?

I needed a medical opinion.

The Diagnosis

I was immediately referred to an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist and had to undergo an MRI scan to rule out any other possible causes for my symptoms.

It was following this that my diagnosis was confirmed in October 2006.

My specialist advised me that there was no known cure for Ménière's disease and that I would have to learn to manage the symptoms as best as I could.

Although surgery was available, it was not something he would consider for a person of my age, as the risks of permanent deafness were considerable.

Have You Ever Experienced An Inner Ear Disorder Such As Labyrinthitis or Ménière's Disease?

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Living With Ménière's Disease

Aside from the fairly obvious distressing physical effects, there are also hidden drawbacks to a life with Ménière's disease. I find it very difficult to plan my life as I would wish. I am constantly cancelling and re-arranging appointments due to feeling unwell. There is an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and fatigue that I experience, following an attack. I am unable to concentrate, I become forgetful and confused.

My family and friends are becoming increasingly irritated when I am unable to attend social events and have to cancel at the last minute. Their patience is wearing a little thin. That is one of the problems with a disease such as Ménière's. To them, I don’t look ill. I’m sure some of them may even believe that I have hypochondriac tendencies. Meanwhile, I am beginnng to feel increasingly lonely and isolated.

Then there is the hearing loss, something my teenage daughters find particularly frustrating. No, I am not deaf, but I have trouble deciphering sounds when people speak from behind me. I also find it difficult to hear properly when there is a lot of background noise. I now find myself trying to lip read.

I find my balance is quite bad first thing in the morning. I have to be careful going downstairs. My tinnitus is more pronounced late at night. Sometimes, I am unable to sleep. Mundane tasks such as changing a light bulb have now become mammoth. I can no longer ride a bicycle.

I am also now my own boss. I would never be able to hold down a 9 to 5 job as things currently stand. That, at least, is one of the benefits of earning a living from the internet. The world wide web is open 24/7.

The Way Forward

To be perfectly honest, I was a little blasé following my diagnosis. I was just relieved that I could attribute a name to my illness and that I could get on with the rest of my wrong I was!

Even though I was taking Betahistine* 3 times daily, the attacks continued with a vengeance. The most troublesome bit about my attacks was that they occurred without warning and the effects were immediate. I was also prescribed further medication, to mitigate the effects of vertigo.

* Betahistine is a commonly prescribed drug for Ménière's disease.

Herbal Remedies For Tinnitus - Natural herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of human ailments. With so many to chose from, discover which herbal supplements are most likely to help with your tinnitus symptoms.

Lipoflavonoid - Research has shown that lipoflavonoids can help some sufferers with relief from tinnitus. But are lipoflavonids effective and are they suitable for all tinnitus sufferers.

Coping With Ménière's Disease

I hope this sheds a little light into my life with Ménière's. Having spoken with other sufferers, I firmly believe that everyone's situation is unique and it is vital that we develop our own coping strategies. Whilst there are many devices out there, I found that the most effective way for me to get a good night's sleep, was to open the window and to switch on a desktop fan. This helped drown out any tinnitus sounds. As regards vertigo, I am able to identify the signs and symptoms fairly quickly. Thus allows me to take steps to mitigate the effects if the disease.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 C L Grant


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    • Marketing Merit profile imageAUTHOR

      C L Grant 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, it's amazing how one part of the body, that we totally take for granted, can have such a devasting effect on our lives.

      There are days when I feel as if I have the hangover from hell, except mine is not alcohol induced!

      Thanks for reading Innerspin! My very best wishes to you ;)

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      A fellow dizzy! It's a complete pain, isn't it? I have nerve damage in one inner ear, and know people with meniere's through a support group. The unpredictable nature of meniere's is a difficult thing. Luckily, my hearing isn't affected, that's an added strain for you. I tend to go a bit dippy if overtired - get words muddled and even slurr a bit. Hard to credit how much the inner ear can mess with us. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Marketing Merit profile imageAUTHOR

      C L Grant 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you all, ladies, for your feedback and support...very much appreciated.

      @DzyMsLizzy - You know you've got me thinking!! In 1999 I suffered a nasty whiplash injury to my neck following a car accident. It's not something I had considered before but I intend following through with this and seeing a chiropractor.

      Thank you all once again, from the bottom of my heart ;)

    • Christine Miranda profile image

      Christine Miranda 

      6 years ago from My office.

      I can't believe that your family is giving you grief over having a medical problem. Maybe you should email them this hub. :) My mom has Ménière's disease so I know it can hit at anytime, without warning.

      @DzyMsLizzy: I will have to tell my mom about trying a chiropractor.

      Voted up & useful.

    • Ruchira profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Sorry to hear about your condition. I wish you the strength to cope with this disease.

      Many votes and sharing it across for just in case some expert would have an opinion about it.


    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine how debilitating and annoying this condition is, as an ongoing thing. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

      Years back, a friend of mine developed this, and when we had the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, (San Francisco Bay Area), she at first thought that her Meniere's was kicking in.

      I have had a few (perhaps 3 or 4) attacks of vertigo over the last 20+ years....the onset is usually something that wakes me from sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I've not been able to pinpoint the cause, but I'm not a big drinker, so that isn't the issue. It seemed at first, to stem from having become too hot, with an electric blanket, the first time. But I no longer use those, so who knows? I have developed a constant tinnitus, but the two problems, for me anyway, seem unrelated.

      It is as you say--the entire room spins--and the slightest twitch of movement--even opening or closing the eyes--sets off another spinning attack, which in turn induces nausea, as you are well aware.

      The first time, I went to the doctor, who prescribed OTC Dramamine. Of course, that does not fix the problem--it only puts you to sleep so you don't know you have a problem. In a couple of days, I was better, but still feeling shaky and lacking confidence to move very much.

      The second time, I again took Dramamine on my own, and rested for a couple of days. But the next two times it happened, I visited my chiropractor, and it was all over with in mere minutes! Knock on wood, it has not happened in over 5 years, and never again will be too soon.

      But at least, I now know that the problem is something out of place in my neck vertebrae, and the chiropractor remains my treatment of choice for a virtually instantaneous cure!

      Voted up, interesting and useful.


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