St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Meniere’s disease

    Hydrops; Endolymphatic hydrops: dizziness- Meniere's disease: vertigo- Meniere's disease

    Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing.

    Causes

    Your inner ear contains fluid-filled tubes called labyrinths. These tubes, along with a nerve in your skull, help you know the position of your body and help maintain your balance.

    The exact cause of Meniere's disease is unknown. It may occur when the pressure of the fluid in part of the inner ear gets too high.

    In some cases, Meniere's disease may be related to:

    • Head injury
    • Middle or inner ear infection

    Other risk factors include:

    • Alcohol use
    • Allergies
    • Family history
    • Recent cold or viral illness
    • Smoking
    • Stress
    • Use of certain medications

    Meniere's disease is a fairly common disorder.

    Symptoms

    Attacks of Meniere's disease often start without warning. They may occur daily, or as rarely as once a year. The severity of each attack can vary.

    Meniere's disease usually has four main symptoms:

    • Hearing loss that changes
    • Pressure in the ear
    • Ringing or roaring in the affected ear, called tinnitus
    • Vertigo, or dizziness

    Severe vertigo is the symptom that causes the most problems. With vertigo, you feel as though you are spinning or moving, or that the world is spinning around you.

    • Nausea, vomiting, and sweating often occur.
    • Symptoms get worse with sudden movement.
    • Often, you will need to lie down.
    • You may feel dizzy and off-balance for anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours.

    Usually hearing loss is only in one ear, but it may affect both ears.

    • Hearing tends to improve between attacks but gets worse over time.
    • Low frequency hearing is lost first.
    • You also may have roaring or ringing in the ear (tinnitus), along with a sense of pressure in your ear

    Other symptoms include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Headaches
    • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Uncontrollable eye movements

    Exams and Tests

    A brain and nervous system exam may show problems with hearing, balance, or eye movement.

    A hearing test will show the hearing loss that occurs with Meniere's. Hearing may be near normal after an attack.

    A caloric stimulation test checks your eye reflexes by warming and cooling the inner ear with water. Test results that are not in the normal range can be a sign of Meniere's disease.

    These tests may also be done to check for other causes of vertigo:

    • Electrocochleography (ECOG)
    • Electronystagmography (ENG) or videonystagmography (VNG)
    • Head MRI scan

    Treatment

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

    Your doctor may suggest ways to reduce the amount of 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

    To help ease symptoms and stay safe:

    • Avoid sudden movements, which may worsen symptoms. You may need help walking during attacks.
    • Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during attacks. They can make symptoms worse.
    • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or climb until 1 week after your symptoms disappear. A sudden dizzy spell during these activities can be dangerous.
    • Remain still and rest when you have symptoms.
    • Gradually increase your activity after attacks.

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

    • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Don't overeat.
    • Exercise regularly, if possible.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Limit caffeine and alcohol.

    Help ease stress by using relaxation techniques, such as:

    • Guided imagery
    • Meditation
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
    • Tai chi
    • Yoga

    Your health care provider may prescribe:

    • Antinausea medicines to relieve nausea and vomiting
    • Diazepam (Valium) or motion sickness medicines, such as meclizine (Antivert, Bonine, Dramamine) to relieve dizziness and vertigo

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

    • Surgery to cut the vestibular nerve helps control vertigo. It does not damage hearing.
    • Injecting steroids or an antibiotic called gentamicin directly into the middle ear can help control vertigo.
    • Removing part of the inner ear (labyrinthectomy) helps treat vertigo. This causes complete hearing loss.

    Hearing aids may be needed for severe hearing loss.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Meniere's disease can often be controlled with treatment. Or the condition may get better on its own. However, Meniere's can be chronic or disabling.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Meniere's disease, or if symptoms get worse. These include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or dizziness.

    Prevention

    You can't prevent Meniere's disease. Treating early symptoms right away may help prevent the condition from getting worse. Treating an ear infection and other related disorders may be helpful.

    References

    Crane BT, Schessel DA, Nedzelski J, Minor LB. Peripheral vestibular disorders. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 165.

    Phillips JS, Westerberg B. Intratympanic steroids for Ménière's disease or syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD008514.

    Post RE, Dickerson LM. Dizziness: a diagnostic approach. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82:361-369.

    Pullens B, van Benthem PP. Intratympanic gentamicin for Ménière's disease or syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;(3):CD008234.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Ear anatomy

      illustration

    • Tympanic membrane

      illustration

      • Ear anatomy

        illustration

      • Tympanic membrane

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

            Tests for Meniere’s disease

              Review Date: 9/25/2013

              Reviewed By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
              adam.com

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              History
              Mission
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs
              Assessment

              Newsroom
              Services
              Brain & Spine
              Cancer
              Heart
              Maternity
              Orthopedics
              Pulmonary
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              mystlukes
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Health Risk Assessments
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Volunteer
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              Careers
              Careers
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile