To Hear or Not Hear – Part 1 of 2

ear

Last week I wasn’t one of my best weeks. On Saturday I woke up with the room spinning, upset stomach and just plain not feeling my energetic self. I remember taking a walk to the beach and when I returned home I felt completed exhausted. On Sunday morning the room was spinning out of control so much so I wasn’t able to attend mass. I pretty much stayed in bed the entire day which is very unusually for me. By Monday I was feeling a bit better with the expectation of the spinning room, whenever I laid on the right side of my body the room would spin out of control and as soon I rolled over the my left side everything was back to normal. Several months ago I had a sinus infection and thought it might be still hanging since the barometric pressure was very low in my area. I continued to have vertigo and the upset stomach with no apparent reason so by Wednesday I decided to see my family doctor.

During my visit my doctor asks, had I ever had this type of feeling before and if so when and how long had it lasted.  In 1987 I started experiencing symptoms of vertigo and my head filling up with air along with an upset stomach for no apparent reason shortly after I moved to Orange County.  Of course I thought it was just the change in climate.  The symptoms lasted 2 weeks and because they were so severe I wasn’t able to drive or go to work.  Once they were gone I never gave it a second thought until the symptoms seemed to magically reappear last week.  Well to make a long story short I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease during my office visit.

What is Meniere’s Disease?

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder usually affecting one ear. Discovered by Prosper Meniere, a French doctor, Meniere’s disease has unknown causes and is unpredictable. The disorder is more common in those in their 40s and 50s but can affect those of any age and children are rarely afflicted.

Many times it is progressive starting with vertigo (unbalance) and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) attacks and progressing with more frequent attacks and hearing loss. For some the vertigo is severe enough to be debilitating with dizziness and nausea.

The cause is not known but is related to the structure of the inner ear. The vestibular organ (also called the semicircular canals) includes the endolymphatic sac and duct that helps control the fluid in the inner ear that are key to the body’s system of balance. It is believed that Meniere’s disease results when the endolymphatic sac or duc is inflamed, damaged, scarred, or deformed from birth or this system of fluids is disrupted in other ways. Some reasons noted that might cause such disruption include ear infections, upper respiratory tract infection, or head injuries. Also there is some connection to the herpes virus, syphilis, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid disorders.

In many cases, sufferers are able to enjoy a higher quality of life thanks to modern treatments. Below is a deeper look at Meniere’s disease and its symptoms and causes as well as foods and medical treatments used to reduce symptoms.

Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

Vertigo, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations and sweating are common symptoms that strike without warning and can last for hours. Over time, hearing loss may become severe. The disorder’s symptoms are divided into early, middle and late stages. All symptoms are present in the early stage, but vertigo is reduced in the middle stage as hearing loss and tinnitus becomes more severe. Periods in which symptoms are absent are common during this stage. In the late stage, vertigo may disappear completely while problems with balance remain. In addition, hearing loss and tinnitus grow worse, and balance may become more difficult after dark. Fatigue usually occurs after episodes, and anxiety and depression are common over the long term.

Please tune in for part 2 on to hear or not to hear and my progress.

If you know anyone who has this disease please feel free to make comments and or share their treatment success. Please email with any questions or comments at pam@balancedlifewellness.org to set up a meeting to answer any questions.