What Is Ménière’s Disease?
Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder. Fluid buildup in the inner ear affects the function of your ear’s balance and hearing structures. This, in turn, causes vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus, and hearing loss that come with the condition.
We aren’t sure why some people develop this fluid buildup. It might be linked to infections and allergies and have a genetic component.
Ménière’s disease is a relatively rare condition, affecting only about 0.2% of Americans, about 1 in 500.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Ménière’s Disease?
Typically, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor in Fort Atkinson will diagnose Ménière’s disease. There isn’t a common positive diagnosis technique for this condition. Doctors will ask you about your symptoms, then diagnose the condition by eliminating other possibilities.
Symptoms of Ménière’s disease your doctor might ask about include:
- Two or more episodes of vertigo lasting at least 20 minutes
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Temporary hearing loss
- A feeling of fullness in the ears
Then your doctor might recommend a CT scan or MRI of the brain to eliminate some potential causes of your symptoms.
One common problem is that doctors often don’t consider TMJ and test for it, even though it might cause all the symptoms listed above for Ménière’s disease. This oversight might mean people don’t get a diagnosis of the true cause of their ear-related symptoms.
How Do Doctors Treat Ménière’s Disease?
Current treatments for Ménière’s disease include:
- Dietary changes
- Cognitive therapy
- Pressure pulse treatment
Using anti-dizziness medications is the most common approach to treating Ménière’s disease. This might include sedatives. Reducing salt and reducing fluid intake and retention might also help relieve symptoms. Therapy can help people deal with the effects of the condition. Pressure pulse therapy involves applying pressure to your ears for about five minutes, usually three times a day. Surgery for Ménière’s disease involves reducing fluid buildup in the inner ear.