Meniere’s disease: treatment, cure and nutrition

There is currently no definitive cure, but in 85% of patients with Meniere’s disease, symptoms can be reduced by:

  • change of lifestyle,
  • Therapies, such as intratympanal infiltration of cortisone or gentamicin,
  • minimally invasive operations, such as pressure relief (decompression) of the endolymphatic sac.

The transection of the vestibular nerve (vestibular nerve) has a high success rate in reducing dizziness and can be performed in patients with good hearing if the other treatment methods have not brought the desired success.

A labyrinthectomy is the last therapeutic option and is considered in patients with unilateral disorder and hearing loss (Sajjadi H – Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, San Jose, CA 95124, USA).


What to do? What is the therapy for Meniere’s disease?

There is no treatment for Meniere’s disease yet, but the doctor may suggest the following therapies:

Medication – The most unpleasant symptom of Meniere’s disease is dizziness. Drug treatment can relieve dizziness and shorten the seizure.
The doctor may prescribe:

  1. antihistamines, such as meclozine,
  2. benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (to be avoided in pregnancy) and lorazepam,
  3. Means for dizziness, for example, betahistine (Betavert).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy – Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps the person interpret and respond to the different life experiences. This cognitive therapy helps some people face the unexpected nature of attacks of Meniere’s disease and reduce anxiety about future crises.

Injections – Treatments for Meniere’s disease include injections of the antibiotic gentamicin into the middle ear for dizziness, but this significantly increases the risk of hearing loss because gentamicin can damage the hair cells of the inner ear that are used to perceive sound waves.

Some doctors (for example, Dr. La Torre) inject corticosteroids into the middle ear instead of gentamicin: often dizziness is reduced and there is no risk of hearing loss.
The doctor may inject osmotic diuretics (for example, glycerine or mannitol) directly into the vein to drain the fluid from the maze.

Aids – Hearing aids can help you hear better.
In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe a cochlear implant.

Pressure pulse therapy (meniett) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a device for the treatment of Meniere’s syndrome that is inserted into the outer ear and sends intermittent pulses of air pressure to the middle ear. These pressure pulses seem to act on the endolymph to prevent dizziness.

Surgery – recommended in rare cases when all other therapies could not cure dizziness after 6 months of treatment. Some surgical procedures consist in the pressure relief of the saccus endolymphaticus, another possible surgical intervention is the transection of the vestibular nerve, although the latter is performed less frequently.

Pressure relief of the endolymphatic sac This procedure can reduce the endolymphatic pressure in which the skull bone (temporal bone) around the endolymphatic sac is removed.
In this way, the bag can expand and the pressure is reduced.
In addition, some surgeons insert a valve between the endolymphatic and mastoid or subarachnoid space to further reduce the pressure.

Transection of the vestibular nerve
Transection of the vestibular nerve may be a definitive solution for patients who have not lost hearing in the affected ear.
After the procedure, a hospital stay of about 3-5 days is planned.
Adapting to nerve loss usually takes weeks or months.
During this time, balance rehabilitation can be helpful.

Labyrinthectomy has a high cure rate (> 95%) and helps patients with deaf ears.
Labyrinthectomy means removal of the organs of the diseased inner ear, but it is not necessary to penetrate through the cranial cavity; the procedure is therefore less complex than the transection of the vestibular nerve.

Alternative medicine and natural remedies for Meniere’s disease

Although some scientists have studied the effectiveness of some alternative medicine therapies for mild Meniere syndrome, there is still no evidence confirming the effectiveness of these therapies, such as:

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Tai Chi,
  • dietary supplement such as Ginkgo biloba,
  • Niacin
  • Ginger root.

It is important to inform the doctor if alternative therapies are used for this condition, as these affect the efficacy or safety of conventional drugs.

Physical therapy can be beneficial to:

  • restore balance,
  • adapt the home environment to the patient’s problems.

Diet and nutrition for Meniere’s disease

The aim of the diet is to limit the intake of foods that affect the level of fluid in the ear.
There are some foods that contain a large amount of salt and sugar that increase fluid levels in the ear.
Some studies have shown that a low-salt diet contributes significantly to reducing the severity of symptoms.

Here is a list of foods to avoid for people affected by Meniere’s disease:

  • Salty foods such as potato chips, etc.
  • Processed foods rich in preservatives or canned foods.
  • Pickled vegetables, soy sauce and foods containing sodium glutamate.
  • Preserved meat.
  • Foods high in sugar such as confectionery, ice cream, chocolate, etc.
  • Caffeine and chocolate trigger the symptoms of this condition and can cause migraines.

The diet for Meniere’s disease should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, nuts and other healthy and fresh foods. Green tea, herbal tea and fresh fruit juices are also helpful.

If a person follows a diet because of Meniere’s disease, it is important to eat the same amount of food at the same time of day every day.

As always, a doctor should be consulted before changing the daily diet. First of all, it is important to quit smoking and drinking alcohol in order to improve the effectiveness of therapy in this disease.

How long does Meniere’s disease last?

It is very difficult to predict the duration and course of this disease.
Hearing gradually decreases and can drop to complete deafness.
The dizziness can last for many years.
60% of affected persons experience spontaneous improvement or improvement as a result of treatment; surgical intervention is performed only in a small percentage of patients.

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