Counties Manukau Health ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL)
Meniere's disease is a disorder in which there is an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear resulting in increased pressure in the inner ear. There is no general agreement as to what causes this abnormality, but there are probably many different causes including injury (immune, infectious, trauma, allergic etc) to the ear. Symptoms of Meniere's include episodes of: vertigo (you feel you are spinning), hearing loss that comes and goes, tinnitus (ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear), a feeling of fullness around your ear. Episodes may last for hours or days. The condition will be diagnosed using hearing tests and possibly an MRI or CT scan. Meniere's disease usually occurs in one ear only and typically appears between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
The initial treatment approach is usually a lifestyle and diet change, including a low salt diet; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and stress; and increased exercise and rest. The majority of patients find that these changes can help control their symptoms. Diuretic medication (reduces the amount of fluid in your body) and other medications (betahistine) may also be introduced. In severe cases where dietary/lifestyle changes have not been successful, surgery may be considered.