Ménière's disease is an inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing.
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 Ménière'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, Ménière's disease may be related to:
Other risk factors include:
Meniere's disease is a fairly common disorder.
Attacks of Ménière's disease often start without warning. They may occur daily, or as rarely as once a year. The severity of each attack can vary.
Ménière's disease usually has four main symptoms:
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.
Usually hearing loss is only in one ear, but it may affect both ears.
Other symptoms include:
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 Ménière'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 Ménière's disease.
These tests may also be done to check for other causes of vertigo:
There is no known cure for Ménière'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.
To help ease symptoms and stay safe:
Symptoms of Ménière's disease can cause stress. Make healthy lifestyle choices to help you cope:
Help ease stress by using relaxation techniques, such as:
Your health care provider may prescribe:
You may need ear surgery if your symptoms are severe and do not respond to other treatments.
Hearing aids may be needed for severe hearing loss.
Ménière's disease can often be controlled with treatment. Or the condition may get better on its own. However, Ménière's can be chronic or disabling.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Ménière's disease, or if symptoms get worse. These include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or dizziness.
You can't prevent Ménière'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.
Hydrops; Endolymphatic hydrops; dizziness-Ménière's disease; vertigo-Ménière's disease
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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.
Updated 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.
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