What Is Menieres disease?
Meniere’s disease is essentially a disorder that affects the inner ear, which is responsible for your hearing and balance. Usually, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear and causes problems like ringing sound in the ear, hearing problems that can worsen gradually and may result in complete loss of hearing and vertigo (spinning sensation). The symptoms of the disease are believed to be produced due to an increase in the fluid pressure in the inner ear, also called endolymphatic hydrops.
Meniere’s disease usually occurs in people between the ages 20-50 and is a chronic, long-term disease. Although there is no cure for Meniere’s disease, with a few lifestyle changes and treatment, the symptoms will ease out.
What Are The Symptoms Of Menieres disease?
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease usually appear as attacks or episodes and most people suffering from Meniere’s disease do not experience any symptoms between the episodes.
Some of the symptoms of Meniere’s disease are:
- Loss of hearing in the ear that has been affected
- Recurring episodes of vertigo (the attack can last from a few minutes to 24 hours). Severe vertigo can cause symptoms like:
- Tinnitus in the affected ear (sensation of ringing)
- Loss of balance
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear (aural fullness)
What Are The Causes Of Menieres disease?
The cause of Meniere’s disease is not really known. This is probably caused due to the result of an abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear. Some of the causes that affect the amount of fluid that may in turn cause Meniere’s disease are:
- Abnormal immune response
- Viral infection
- Improper fluid drainage that may be caused due to blockage or some anatomic abnormality
- Head trauma
- Genetic cause
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Menieres disease?
Adopt a healthy diet, exercise routine and a healthier lifestyle, as this can help to reduce the severity of the Meniere’s disease symptoms.
If you suffer from Meniere’s disease and if you are having an episode of vertigo or you’re feeling dizzy, sit or lie down and avoid activities that will worsen the symptoms like sudden movement, watching television, exposure to bright lights or reading.
When you are having an attack, rest before or after the attack.
Take care if you lose your balance as you could be injured seriously. Use good lights at night and if you are having balance problems, then use a cane for support while walking.
Have 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day instead of consuming 3 big meals, as a change in the dietary pattern can help to improve the symptoms of Meniere’s disease by keeping the body fluids regulated and the metabolism active.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Menieres disease?
- If you suffer from recurring vertigo attacks due to Meniere’s disease, then avoid driving or operating heavy machinery, as you could have an accident or be injured.
- Avoid stress as this can worsen the condition of Meniere’s disease.
- Avoid any allergens and also smoking, as both allergies and nicotine can worsen the condition of Meniere’s disease.
What Are The Best Foods For Menieres disease?
- Drink plenty of water, around 6-8 glasses a day, so that your body does not retain any fluid since fluid retention can worsen the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Eat plenty of low-salt vegetables and fruits as they help to reduce the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C like strawberries, green peppers, citrus fruits, cantaloupes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, turnips, papayas, pineapples, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, mangoes, cabbage, winter squash and red peppers can help to reduce the symptoms of vertigo, one of the main symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Foods rich in vitamin B6 such as fortified breakfast cereals, beans, peanut butter, bananas, walnuts, spinach, meats such as pork and chicken, fish including salmon and tuna and avocados can help to prevent vertigo.
- Eating potassium-rich foods can help to control the salt levels in your body. Eating foods like bananas and lentils can help to reduce your risk of Meniere’s disease.
What Are The Worst Foods For Menieres disease?
- Avoid salt and salty foods like processed cheese, canned meat and fish, canned vegetables, olives, etc, salted crackers, baked food, chips, salted nuts, salty ready-made condiments, sauces and seasonings, etc., as salt retains water and excluding salt from your diet can help to decrease the fluid in the inner ear.
- Avoid coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks as these are stimulants and cause an increase of fluid in the inner ear and worsen the condition of tinnitus. The diuretic property of caffeine also causes loss of fluids from the body by frequent urination and causes dehydration.
- Do not add MSG or monosodium glutamate in your foods as this worsens the condition of Meniere’s disease.
- Avoid foods like red wine, yoghurt, citrus fruits, ripened cheese (cheddar and Brie), figs, chicken liver, chocolate, bananas, smoked meats and nuts as these foods contain amino acid tyramine that triggers a migraine, which is a common symptom of Meniere’s disease.
- Avoid simple sugar and foods containing sugar such as honey, candy, jams, processed sweets, soda, jellies, etc. as these worsen the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.
- Avoid drinking alcohol as this shifts the balance in the inner ear causing the symptoms of Meniere’s disease to worsen and also too much of alcohol causes dehydration, leading to nausea and dizziness.
What Are The Medicines For Menieres disease?
What Are The Tips To Manage Menieres disease?
- Managing stress can help to reduce the symptoms and help you cope with Meniere’s disease. You can use psychotherapy to identify the stressors and find ways to cope with the condition. You can also take up meditation and yoga to help in managing your stress and anxiety.
- Meet a physical therapist who can help you with vestibular rehabilitation exercises, which can help to improve vertigo, one of the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. These exercises help to train your brain to restore the balance between the two ears.
- If you are suffering from hearing loss, meet an audiologist who can treat the condition and you may require a hearing aid to help with the hearing loss.
- Meniere’s disease can cause fatigue, emotional stress, depression and anxiety. You can join a support group or online forum to help you cope with these problems.