What is Ménière’s disease?
- Ménière’s disease is a balance disorder caused by an abnormality found in a section of the inner ear called the labyrinth.
- There are an estimated 615,000 people in the US who have Ménière’s disease, with 45,500 new cases diagnosed each year.
What causes Ménière’s disease?
The labyrinth has two parts:
- bony labyrinth
- membranous labyrinth
- The membranous labyrinth is encased in bone and contains a fluid called endolymph.
- When the head moves, the endolymph also moves, which causes nerve receptors in the membranous labyrinth to signal the brain about the body’s motion.
- When, for some reason, the endolymph increases, the membranous labyrinth balloons or dilates (a condition called endolymphatic hydrops).
- If the membranous labyrinth ruptures, the endolymph mixes with another inner ear fluid called perilymph.
- The mixing of the two fluids is believed to cause the symptoms of Ménière’s disease.
Treatment for Ménière’s disease:
Specific treatment for Ménière’s disease will be determined by your physician based on:
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference