As promised in part 1 of my blog “To Hear or Not Hear” my progress with the Meniere’s disease symptoms has taken a turn for the better. The vertigo is completely gone and my upset stomach has settled. My ear still has a very dull ache but it’s only occasionally. I’m acutely aware of my right ear and that the symptoms I had ignored for the past couple of month. I’ve also became more aware of certain types of food along with stress levels and the barometric pressure outside. This blog will focus on causes, diet and treatment of Meniere’s disease.
Meniere’s Disease Diet
Diet can be a contributing factor or cause of Meniere’s disease; so many patients see improvements by making dietary changes immediately. Because caffeine and alcohol use can cause symptoms, patients are advised to cut both caffeine and alcohol use from their diets. Sodium, which contributes to water retention, can worsen symptoms. Foods rich in sugar, such as desserts and candy, can also exacerbate Meniere’s disease, so many patients limit sugar or avoid it completely.
Stress and Healthy Active Lifestyle
Stress, anxiety and depression can all adversely affect Meniere’s disease. Patients can experience a significant exacerbation of their symptoms during such times. Although we do not know the exact reason why stress can exacerbate Meniere’s Disease, it might have to do with neurotransmitters. These are important chemicals which act in the brain and are necessary for proper mood, and a normal mental state. An upset in the balance of neurotransmitters can be caused by stress and anxiety. This in turn can possibly affect the areas of the brain which interact with the inner ear and balance system. As patients with Meniere’s Disease can have a susceptible or “weak” inner ear, it may be more sensitive to stress and anxiety. Proper nutrition, exercise on a regular basis, and the use of relaxation techniques are all important for reducing stress and anxiety.
Causes, Incidence and Risk Factors
Meniere’s disease affects about one in 1,000 people, especially between the ages of 40 and 60. Although doctors believe that Meniere’s disease is caused by abnormalities relating to inner-ear fluid, they do not know exactly what causes it. Food allergies and seasonal allergies can contribute to the disorder. Stress, recent viral illness, smoking, respiratory infection and lack of sleep can also cause or worsen the disorder. About one in five patients has a known family history of Meniere’s disease, but most have no family history of the disorder.
Possible Triggers in Your Environment
I’ve noticed an increase in pressure in their ears when there are barometric changes in the atmosphere. It sounds far-fetched, but low pressure systems seem to put lots of pressure on the ears. I feel like the weather person when its heavy damp weather outside this tends to spark attacks. Doctors may or may not agree but this is a common observation by Meniere’s sufferers.
There is of course nothing you can do about changes in the weather or air pressure, but it would be perhaps wise to eliminate as many other possible triggers in your life as you can at this time to give yourself a chance.
Allergies from the air and sinus problems seem to be a factor with many people. Hay fever and the like, causing inflammation around the nasal passage and sinuses and clogging up the ears with pollen would seem an obvious candidate and many people do seem to have problems with this.
Wearing a mask during allergy seasons and steaming the sinuses clear regularly may help. More on possible environmental triggers below.
Household Chemicals can also contribute to an onset of symptoms. Over the past several weeks I have read stories of people stopping the use of certain household cleaners and there symptoms when away.
Treatment of Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease it appears so far has not obvious prescriptive cure yet, but several treatments can improve symptoms. Motion sickness drugs help many patients, and antihistamines are valuable for those with Meniere’s related to respiratory infection, recent viral illness or allergies. Quitting smoking and eating a diet low in sodium is valuable, as is reducing stress and avoiding fatigue and lack of sleep. Diuretics, rehabilitation, middle ear injections and surgery are also used to treat Meniere’s disease. Acupuncture and treatment with essentials oils has been very helpful for me. I apply and drop of Frankincense oil along my right earlobe and along the ridge of my chin and the ache completely disappears.
In conclusion, there are many things commonly encountered on a daily basis that can exacerbate Meniere’s Disease. What I’ve found through my research is general guidelines that include proper diet and lifestyle changes can allow the majority of people with this condition to live a normal healthy life.