Ménière disease - self-care
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.
Hydrops - self-care; Endolymphatic hydrops - self-care; Dizziness - Ménière self-care; Vertigo - Ménière self-care; Loss of balance - Ménière self-care
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 1,500 mg to 2,000 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:
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.
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 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.
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.
Fife TD. Meniere’s disease. In: Kellerman RD, Bope ET, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2018. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:458-462.
Kerber KA, Baloh RW. Neuro-otology: diagnosis and management of neuro-otological disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 46
Review Date: 2/26/2018
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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