Ménière disease - self-care

Description

You have seen your doctor for Ménière disease. During Ménière attacks, you may have vertigo, or the feeling that you are spinning. You may also have hearing loss (most often in one ear) and ringing or roaring in the affected ear, called tinnitus. You may also have pressure or fullness in the ears.

During attacks, some people find bed rest helps relieve vertigo symptoms. Your health care provider may prescribe medicines like diuretics (water pills) or antihistamines to help. Surgery may be used in some cases with persistent symptoms, although this has risks and is rarely recommended.

There is no cure for Ménière disease. However, making some lifestyle changes can help prevent or reduce attacks.

Alternative Names

Hydrops - self-care; Endolymphatic hydrops - self-care; Dizziness - Ménière self-care; Vertigo - Ménière self-care; Loss of balance - Ménière self-care

Diet

Eating a low-salt (sodium) diet helps reduce the fluid pressure in your inner ear. This can help control symptoms of Ménière disease. Your provider may recommend cutting back to 1500 to 2000 mg of sodium per day. This is about ¾ teaspoon (4 grams) of salt.

Start by taking the salt shaker off your table, and do not add any extra salt to foods. You get plenty from the food you eat.

These tips can help you cut the extra salt from your diet.

When shopping, look for healthy choices that are naturally low in salt, including:

Learn to read labels.

Foods to avoid include:

When you cook and eat at home:

When you go out to eat:

Try to eat the same amount of food and drink the same amount of fluid at about the same time every day. This can help reduce changes in the fluid balance in your ear.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Making the following changes may also help:

Medicines

For some people, diet alone will not be enough. If needed, your provider may also give you water pills (diuretics) to help reduce the fluid in your body and fluid pressure in your inner ear. You should have regular follow-up exams and lab work as suggested by your provider. Antihistamines may also be prescribed. These medicines may make you sleepy, so you should first take them when you do not have to drive or be alert for important tasks.

Surgery

If surgery is recommended for your condition, be sure to talk with your surgeon about any specific restrictions you may have after surgery.

When to Call your Doctor

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Ménière disease, or if symptoms get worse. These include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, pressure or fullness in the ears, or dizziness.

References

Crane BT, Minor LB. Peripheral Vestibular Disorders. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 165.

Ferri FF. Ménière's disease. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:780-780.

Syed I, Aldren C. Ménière's disease: an evidence based approach to assessment and management. Int J Clin Pract. 2012;66(2):166-170. PMID: 22257041 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22257041.


Review Date: 2/1/2016
Reviewed By: Sumana Jothi MD, Specialist in Laryngology, Clinical Instructor UCSF Otolaryngology, NCHCS VA, SFVA, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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