What are the early signs and symptoms of Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere's Disease

Meniere’s Disease is a disorder that causes its patients to experience various symptoms including vertigo, tinnitus, & progressive deafness. It is an inner ear disorder that usually leads the patients to feel dizzy, nauseous, & a constant feeling of pressure inside the ears, along with ringing in the ears, called tinnitus. Although Meniere’s Disease can happen at any age, it usually occurs between 40 & 60 years of age.

Usually, Meniere’s Disease affects only one ear, although in rare cases it can occur in both ears.

Meniere’s Disease symptoms:

Although Menieres Disease symptoms can vary from patient to patient, some symptoms are common across all the patients. Meniere’s Disease symptoms often come on suddenly, & vary in their frequency & duration. A typical Meniere’s Disease symptom attack lasts anywhere between 20 minutes & 24 hours, with each patient experiencing a different intensity of symptoms.

Some of the most common Menieres Disease symptoms include:

  • Vertigo: Vertigo is usually one of the most common Meniere’s Disease symptoms, & involve the following symptoms:
  • A feeling or sensation of spinning, even when the person is stationary,
  • Dizziness,
  • Vomiting,
  • Nausea,
  • Arrhythmic heartbeat,
  • Excessive sweating

Since Meniere’s Disease symptoms come on suddenly, it becomes difficult to accurately predict when a Vertigo attack will occur. This is why, keeping certain useful vertigo medicines at hand can greatly help, along with knowing certain vertigo exercises & other vertigo treatment methods. These won’t solve the problem of Vertigo attacks but might help reduce their frequency & severity during an attack.

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is described as a persistent, invasive noise inside the ears. Patients often feel a ringing sound inside the ears, which can sometimes also sound like hissing or vibrations. At various times, this sound can also be described as buzzing, roaring, & whistling. Tinnitus is almost always present in Meniere’s Disease patients, although they are generally more aware of it during quiet times.
  • Hearing Loss: Hearing loss is also one of the various Meniere’s Disease symptoms, & may come & go at least in the beginning. In the early stages of Meniere’s Disease, hearing loss may present as the patient is afraid of any loud noises & sounds, & may eventually progress to a complete hearing loss.
  • Depression, stress, & anxiety: In some cases, Menieres Disease patients can also feel the symptoms of depression, stress, & anxiety. Meniere’s Disease symptoms can manifest anytime, anywhere, which undoubtedly causes a lot of anxiety & feelings of low self-worth in patients over time. Some Menieres Disease patients lose the ability or confidence to perform everyday tasks including walking, running, driving, operating machinery, among others. This causes them to fall into depression, which can further worsen the Meniere’s Disease symptoms.

The stages of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s Disease usually develops in two stages. In between these stages, a patient might not experience any symptoms for a long period of time.

These stages are given as below:

Early Stage:

In the early stages, Meniere’s Disease causes some sudden & unpredictable attacks & vertigo episodes. Partial loss of hearing during these episodes is also common, although it quickly reverts to normal once the episode passes. Nevertheless, it is also a common Meniere’s Disease early sign.

Your ears might also feel blocked, pressured, or just generally uncomfortable during these episodes & afterward, along with some instances of Tinnitus as well.

It is also common to feel the overwhelming urge to sleep or lay down after a Meniere’s Disease induced Vertigo attack, as the patient feels extreme exhaustion. It is another one of Meniere’s Disease’s early signs.

In addition, some more symptoms might also be common during the early stages of Menieres Disease. These Meniere’s Disease early signs include:

  • Diarrhea,
  • Blurry vision,
  • Jerking eye movements,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Cold sweats,
  • Rapid pulse & heartbeat; also called palpitation,
  • Trembling

Later stage:

During the later stage of Menieres Disease, Vertigo episodes become less frequent, & in some cases, even stop completely. Problems with balance, hearing loss, & in some cases even vision problems develop & continue however, & patients might also feel unsteady during certain times, especially at night time. Hearing problems & tinnitus also gradually get worse with time in this stage, & the patient might also begin to experience sudden attacks that involve losing control spontaneously, dropping, or fainting while still remaining conscious.

Meniere’s Disease Causes:

Menieres Disease is often caused by any abnormalities in the structure of the inner ear or the levels of fluid in it. Doctors are yet unclear on how these changes happen exactly, however.

The inner ear structure is a collection of connected passages & cavities that are called the labyrinth, while the outer part of the ear houses the bony part of this labyrinth.

Inside of it lies a soft membrane structure which is essentially a smaller version of the labyrinth, having a similar shape.

This labyrinth with the membrane structure contains a fluid called endolymph. It is made up of certain sensors that resemble hairs that respond to the fluid’s movement & sends signals to the brain regarding the movements via nerve impulses.

All these parts of the inner ear play varying roles as far as sensory perception is considered, including:

  • Detecting acceleration in a specific direction,
  • Any rotational motion, &
  • Sound

The pressure, volume, & the exact chemical composition of this fluid inside the inner ear have to be correct if all the sensors inside the inner ear have to perform properly.

When a person has Menieres Disease, certain properties of this fluid are affected, thus causing the various Meniere’s Disease symptoms including dizziness, vertigo, & nausea, among others.

Meniere’s Disease diagnosis:

There are no specific tests to diagnose Menieres Disease. Your doctor will ask for a history of your symptoms, their intensity, frequency, severity, & any other medications that you might be taking.

They will also perform certain Vertigo tests on you to determine the exact cause & intensity of your condition.

These tests will include:

  • Hearing tests,
  • Balance tests,
  • Electronystagmography,
  • Rotary chair testing,
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential testing(VEMP),
  • Posturography,
  • Other general tests to rule out some other causes of the symptoms, such as MRI scans, CT scans, & auditory brainstem response audiometry to check how well the brain responds to sounds. This is generally done to figure out if there are any tumors.

Meniere’s Disease treatment:

Menieres Disease treatment usually focuses on reducing the symptoms experienced by the patient, rather than treating the condition itself. Meniere’s Disease treatment also includes some vertigo medicines, vertigo exercises, & some treatment methods that are generally used for vertigo treatment.

The Vertigo medicines that are given to Meniere’s disease patients are:

  • Motion sickness drugs like meclizine & diazepam. They help the patient steady themselves in the event of continuous motion.
  • Nausea medicines, like prochlorperazine, etc. to treat any nausea or vomiting during an attack of Meniere’s Disease,
  • Diuretics, also known as water pills, help reduce the level of fluid inside the patient’s inner ear to better regulate it.

Alongside these Vertigo medicines, there are also certain Vertigo exercises & other Vertigo treatment methods & activities that can help in Meniere’s Disease treatment.

Aditi is a social media marketing manager and a personal healthcare blogger who has written a couple of blogs on health care and health benefits that are liked by many. She keeps herself updated with the latest in the world of social media and imparts her knowledge to her followers through her health care blogs. Sharing her views on health care remedies, an effective diet to stay fit and healthy, and following a regime for a healthy lifestyle are some of the topics that hold her interest. She loves to read and travel and share her piece of knowledge with her experiences.

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