Ménière’s disease is characterized by episodic vertiginous crises, mostly severe and disabling, accompanied by intense nausea and vomiting; hearing loss also occurs. Dr. Oscar Aleman, expert in Otoneurology, talks about this pathology and how it is diagnosed.
Causes and symptoms of Ménière’s disease
Ménière’s disease manifests itself through unilateral auditory symptoms such as tinnitus, sensation of hearing loss or hearing loss. These symptoms usually precede the onset of intense and disabling vertigo crises, which usually last for hours and severely affect the patient’s general condition.
The cause of the disease is unknown, but in general terms, according to current scientific information, its etiology is considered to be multifactorial, involving immunological, genetic, environmental, vascular and morphological factors of the inner ear.
Diagnosis of Ménière’s disease
The diagnosis is made clinically, based on the patient’s clinical history, its evolution and the objectification of the auditory fluctuation in the period of vertiginous crises, especially at the onset of the disease. Sometimes, complementary vestibular studies are required to show how the function of the vestibular system is, or to establish a differential diagnosis with other entities that also present with episodic vertiginous crises.
It is also common to perform radiological studies that rule out alterations of the central nervous system, as well as radiological studies with contrast that show the expected morphological changes in the inner ear, secondary to the disease.
Treatment for Ménière’s Disease
Seven out of ten patients gradually evolve towards stability, but in some cases, the disease can be prolonged over time, altering the patient’s quality of life significantly. Usually, these alterations are related to an important hearing deficit, persistent tinnitus, repeated vertigo crises and, secondarily, mood impairment.
Currently there are a series of treatments that can contribute to a better control of this pathology. These can be medical advice regarding diet and lifestyle, pharmacological medical treatment and finally, if necessary, intratympanic treatment, which consists of the application of drugs directly into the ear. Surgical treatment is rarely required.
Patients suffering from this pathology should receive personalized attention by an expert in this pathology. The specialist must advise the patient on all aspects of the disease, choose the best treatment at each moment for the control of vertigo crises, provide advice and counseling regarding hearing loss, tinnitus and rehabilitation of vestibular damage; it is also important to provide psychological support to patients who require it.