If you suffer from hearing loss, the feeling of stuffiness or pressure in your ears, ringing in your ears, poor balance and/or frequent bouts of severe vertigo there is a good chance that you will be diagnosed with Meniere’s disease.
Once you get the diagnosis chances are you will hear that there is no cure for this disease or syndrome. At first most Meniere’s sufferers are told to just eliminate salt from their diet and are given a diuretic, possibly some steroids and usually vertigo medication such as Meclizine.
If your Meniere’s syndrome is severe enough and the salt free diet and drugs are not working, your doctor may recommend a more aggressive approach such as
Gentamicin injections: This is an antibiotic that's toxic to your inner ear. This is injected into your inner ear to destroy the balancing function of your ear to make each side have equal but reduced function. This can leave you with less vertigo but poorer balance especially as you age and may also further your hearing loss.
There are also potentially risky surgeries for severe Meniere’s sufferers such as:
- Endolymphatic sac procedures
- Vestibular nerve section (cutting the nerve that connects balance and movement sensors in your inner ear to the brain)
- Labyrinthectomy. With this procedure, the surgeon removes the balance portion of the inner ear.
Before you have one of these aggressive procedures performed it’s important to know that there is a natural drug and surgery free approach to helping Meniere’s syndrome using Functional Neurology and Functional Medicine and Nutrition.
With this approach it is possible that you do not have to suffer with the dizziness, balance problems, nausea, vomiting and vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease anymore!
First and foremost you need to know that Meniere’s disease is not just an inner ear problem. It is a problem with how the immune system and nervous system function.
Here is what you need to understand:
- Meniere’s sufferers actually have an autoimmune condition that is destroying their inner ear and causing all their symptoms. Taking medication will not stop this destruction.
- Meniere’s disease sufferers have a weak cerebellum and brain stem function (the brain areas where inner ear information is received). When these areas are not functioning well it makes it impossible to get rid of dizziness, balance problems and nausea/vomiting.
The reason why Meniere’s sufferers are commonly told to drastically reduce sodium in their diet and given diuretics is because the mechanism of Meniere’s is due to improper fluid drainage in the inner ear. This causes a build- up of fluids and swelling of the inner ear that can damage it and alter its (function causing the symptoms).
The inner ear is made up of a grouping of cavities called a labyrinth. The outside of the inner ear is made of bone (bony labyrinth). Inside is a soft structure of membrane (membranous labyrinth). The membranous labyrinth contains a fluid (endolymph) and is lined with hair-like sensors that respond to movement of the fluid.
In order for all of the sensors in the inner ear to function properly, the fluid needs to retain certain volume, pressure and chemical composition.
Lowering salt and taking diuretics may reduce the fluid volume.
The trouble with this approach is that it does not get to the root of what is causing the swelling of the inner ear membrane in the first place. It is an inflammatory reaction that affects the membrane reducing the normal flow of excess fluid out of the inner. When there is swelling, the pressure will increase and the membranes will burst (causing damage and symptoms).
Studies have shown that at least 1/3 of Meniere’s syndrome cases are caused by an autoimmune response. This is the body’s abnormal immune reaction where the immune system attacks your own body, in this case your inner ear.
The problem with this is the only treatment for autoimmune disorders is immune suppressive drugs, the types of drugs given to patients with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These medications carry big side effects.
There are, however, natural nutritional protocols to calm and slow down the autoimmune reaction that is adversely affecting your inner ear function. We use these autoimmune nutritional protocols to help our patients who have Meniere’s syndrome including:
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Specific diet and supplement protocols for leaky gut correction
- Specific diet and supplement protocols to decrease brain and gut inflammation
- Specific diet and supplement protocols for autoimmunity
- Food sensitivity testing and diet recommendations
We combine these specific autoimmune nutritional protocols with neurological rehabilitation to improve the function of the areas of the brain essential for giving a person healthy equilibrium and balance.
The combination is highly successful in helping Meniere’s disease patients and in fact life changing for many.
To learn more about functional medicine for autoimmunity read the section about metabolic care under Our Unique Approach tab or go to our autoimmune website: www.chestercountyaidoc.com
See the testimonials section to listen to Meniere’s patients who have gone through our care program.
For more information we recommend you watch our full length video: