What Is Menieres Disease?

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   I have been having problems with my ears for almost two months now.  Desperate, I went to the local urgent care center and was given Claritin and medicine for a sinus infection.  They told me that I had fluid behind the ears and that it would go away in a couple weeks.

   Fast forward to now, six weeks later- my ears thump and ring constantly keeping me awake at night.  I am having migraine headaches every other day and they last at least eleven and a half hours each time.  I have dizzy spells where the world feels like it is spinning as if I just got off the amusement park ride The Tilt-a-Whirl. I get lightheaded and all at once, I need to go lay down. I have also had some scary things happen and that is why I went to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor today.  I have noticed numbness on both sides of my face.  My speech has slurred.  Two days ago, the central air kicked on and for thirty minutes I heard silence.  My hearing vanished.

   The Ear, Nose and Throat doctor did an exam when I arrived there and noticed that there was no fluid in my ears. He then took out a special instrument that gives different tones and had me tell him when I heard them.  I heard the first three tones then nothing on the fourth tone.   The other tones measure hearing in the outer ear, while the last tone measured hearing inside the ear.  He then did a simple, but very important test.  He had my eyes follow his finger back and forth.  When I was not able to do this successfully, I was diagnosed with Menieres Disease.

   Menieres Disease is a neurological disorder of unknown origin that causes extreme dizziness, vertigo, and ringing in the ears.  In my case, it is thought to be caused by a virus that settled in my ear drum close to the brain.  It can also be associated with a stroke or cyst or tumor inside the ear canal.  That is why I go on the 7th of June for a test known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the head and ears to rule out these possibilities.

   This is treated in various ways.  At this time, there is no known cure.  I was prescribed Valium twice a day to sedate the ear drums and try to give me some relief.  Of course, a side effect of this treatment is drowsiness.   My doctor also has me taking a multi-vitamin every day to try and boost my immune system.  In some case, anti-viral drugs have been used.  In others, acupuncture and alternative treatments are used.  This illness can go in remission, but it can also return at any time so once you are diagnosed, it is important to work with your doctor to find your best possible treatment options.

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