You've seen your doctor for Ménière's disease. During Ménière's attacks, you may have vertigo, or the feeling that you are spinning. You may also have hearing loss (usually in one ear) and ringing or roaring in the affected ear, called tinnitus.
During attacks, some people find bed rest helps relieve vertigo symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe medicines like diuretics (water pills) or antihistamines to help. Surgery may be used in some cases with persistent symptoms, although this has risks and is rarely recommended.
There is no cure for Ménière's disease. However, making some lifestyle changes can help prevent or reduce attacks.
Eating a low-salt (sodium) diet helps reduce the fluid pressure in your inner ear. This can help control symptoms of Ménière's disease. Your doctor may recommend cutting back to 1500 - 2000 mg of sodium per day. This is about ¾ teaspoon of salt.
Start by taking the salt shaker off your table, and don't add any extra salt to foods. You get plenty from the food you eat.
These tips can help you cut the extra salt from your diet.
When shopping, look for healthy choices that are naturally low in salt, including:
Learn to read labels.
Foods to avoid include:
When you cook and eat at home:
When you go out to eat:
Try to eat the same amount of food and drink the same amount of fluid at about the same time every day. This can help reduce changes in the fluid balance in your ear.
For some people, diet alone won't be enough. If needed, your doctor may also give you water pills (diuretics) to help reduce the fluid in your body and fluid pressure in your inner ear. You should have regular follow-up exams and lab work as suggested by your doctor. Antihistamines may also be prescribed. These medicines may make you sleepy, so you should first take them when you don't have to drive or be alert for important tasks.
If surgery is recommended for your condition, be sure to talk with your surgeon about any specific restrictions you may have after surgery.
Call your doctor if you have symptoms of Ménière's disease, or if symptoms get worse. These include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or dizziness.
Hydrops; Endolymphatic hydrops
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Derebery MJ, Berliner KI. Allergy and its relation to Ménière's disease. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2010; 43(5):1047-58.
Syed I, Aldren C. Ménière's disease: an evidence based approach to assessment and management. Int J Clin Pract. 2012; 66(2):166-70.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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