Ménière's disease is a balance disorder. It’s caused by an abnormality in part the inner ear called the labyrinth. Fluid build-up here can cause severe spinning sensation (vertigo) and affect the hearing.
The labyrinth holds the organs of balance and hearing. It’s made up of two parts:
The membranous labyrinth is encased in bone and contains a fluid called endolymph.
When the head moves, the endolymph also moves. This causes nerve receptors in the membranous labyrinth to signal the brain about the body's motion.
Endolymph buildup in the labyrinth can interfere with the normal balance and hearing signals between the inner ear and the brain. This is Ménière's disease.
Fluid buildup in this area may be caused by:
Most often, Ménière's disease is caused by more than one factor.
Anyone can get Ménière's disease. It’s more common in people in their 40s and 50s. There is no cure.
These are the most common symptoms of Ménière's disease. Symptoms can occur suddenly, and may happen daily or infrequently. The symptoms are most often in one ear but can affect both ears.
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Ménière's disease may look like other conditions or health problems. Always check with your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, the health care provider may request:
You may see specialists including:
Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Treatment may include:
There is no cure.
Vertigo is one of the main symptoms of Ménière's disease. It can cause falls, trouble driving, or prevent other normal activities of daily living. Permanent hearing loss may also occur. These problems can cause depression and anxiety. It may be hard to work or interact with your family and friends.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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