What is Meniere's Disease?

Meniere's disease, also known as endolymphatic hydrops, is a disorder of the inner ear that affects people of all ages, but it is most common in individuals between the ages of 20 and 50. Both men and women are equally at risk.

What Causes Meniere's Disease?

The exact cause of Meniere's disease remains unknown. However, symptoms are linked to an excess of fluid in the inner ear, known as the endolymph. This excess fluid disrupts the normal functioning of the balance system and auditory system, leading to the characteristic symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms of Meniere's Disease

The primary symptom of Meniere's disease is vertigo, which is a sudden and intense spinning sensation. Vertigo episodes can last anywhere from minutes to hours and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and loss of balance.

Other symptoms of Meniere's disease may include:

  • Hearing loss: Hearing loss usually affects one ear and is typically temporary in the early stages of the disease. However, if left untreated, hearing loss can become permanent.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear. It may come and go in the early stages of the disease but tends to become more persistent later on.
  • Ear fullness: Ear fullness is a feeling of pressure or blockage in the ear. It may also come and go in the early stages but can become more persistent later in the disease.

Diagnosis of Meniere's Disease

Diagnosing Meniere's disease can be challenging as there is no single definitive test. The doctor will typically consider the patient's medical history, symptoms, and the results of various tests to make a diagnosis.

Tests that may be used to diagnose Meniere's disease include:

  • Hearing test (audiogram): An audiogram assesses the patient's hearing ability.
  • Balance test (videonystagmography): This test evaluates the functioning of the balance system in the inner ear.
  • Electrocochleography (ECoG): ECoG measures the electrical activity in the inner ear, which can help identify fluid buildup.
  • Evoked response audiometry: This test measures the brain's response to sound stimuli.
  • Posturography: Posturography evaluates the patient's balance and stability.

Treatment Options for Meniere's Disease

The treatment for Meniere's disease depends on the severity of the symptoms and the patient's response to various therapies.


Medications may be used to control dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Common medications include antihistamines, benzodiazepines, and diuretics.

Transtympanic procedures:

Transtympanic procedures involve injecting medication through the eardrum into the middle ear. The two main types of transtympanic procedures are intratympanic dexamethasone injection and intratympanic gentamicin injection.


Surgery is considered a last resort for patients with severe Meniere's disease who do not respond to medication or other therapies. Surgical procedures may include endolymphatic sac decompression, labyrinthectomy, and vestibular nerve section.

Self-Care Tips for Meniere's Disease

In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle modifications can help manage the symptoms of Meniere's disease and improve overall well-being.

  • Dietary changes: Avoid excessive salt intake and limit consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help improve balance and reduce stress.
  • Stress management: Stress can exacerbate symptoms of Meniere's disease. Practising stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can be beneficial.
  • Adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining overall health and managing Meniere's disease symptoms.
  • Avoid triggers: Identify and avoid triggers that may worsen symptoms, such as bright lights, loud noises, and crowded environments.

Living with Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. However, with proper treatment and lifestyle modifications, most individuals can live full and productive lives. It is important to work closely with a doctor to develop a personalised treatment plan and make adjustments as needed.