Do I have Meniere’s Disease?

Today we are going to answer a question that I frequently hear from many patients that I see which is, “Do I have Meniere’s Disease?”

The answer is that I have met many people who have been told that they have been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease as the cause of their vertigo. Accurate diagnostic testing and assessment of the vestibular system for a Meniere’s diagnosis is a lengthy process and often incomplete.

Many people who have been diagnosed with this disease do not actually present with symptoms consistent with Meniere’s at all, but some sort of other vestibular issue.

Meniere’s Disease is Overdiagnosed and Commonly Misdiagnosed

In fact, recently I met a woman who had been taking medicine for the disease for close to 20 years and following a low salt diet, but her vertigo symptom pattern did not match a typical Meniere’s disease description.

If you have been told by someone that your vertigo symptoms are due to Meniere’s disease, I highly recommend for you to seek out a vestibular specialist to do a proper evaluation of your case and consider the other potential causes of your episodes of dizziness and vertigo.

Meniere’s Symptoms fit a Pattern

People with true Meniere’s disease, or even a Meniere’s syndrome, experience spontaneous and recurrent episodes of dizziness and vertigo that may last for twenty minutes to four hours, even up to twelve hours.

These episodes of vertigo are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, imbalance, as well as pressure or fullness in the ear, ringing/ rushing/ roaring sounds in the ear, and intermittent hearing loss which is not permanent after the episode of Meniere’s has resolved.

Meniere’s usually affects one ear, but both ears can be affected in some cases.

Hearing is typically fluctuating and is restored back to baseline after the vertigo episode is over. However, hearing loss may develop over time due to accumulated damage from recurrent episodes of Meniere’s.

Find a Specialist to Get a Second Opinion

If you are someone who is not certain whether or not you are dealing with Meniere’s disease, and you have never been properly evaluated by an inner ear specialist, I highly recommend for you to find an inner ear specialist at the Vestibular Disorders Association,

Then you can find out if you really have true Meniere’s disease or if you have something similar such as episodes of migraine headaches, which may need to be treated and managed in a whole different way.

New Treatment Options for True Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease episodes is also called “primary endolymphatic hydrops.” This condition is considered idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. High salt intake, sodium/potassium imbalance, and caffeine are common triggers for Meniere’s disease episodes.

Now certain medical devices and surgery techniques have been developed to help people with true Meniere’s disease, so it is worth your time to find a leading expert in the field.

Talk to your doctor about medication options. Surgical options may be used for more severe or intractable cases.

Differentiate Meniere’s Disease from Other Root Causes of Episodic Vertigo

There are other root causes of episodic vertigo attacks that can masquerade as Meniere’s disease. Determining the root cause of episodic vertigo attacks can ensure that the treatment plan is correct.

Meniere’s syndrome consists of Meniere’s like episodes caused by something else in the body like the immune system or a virus. This condition is also referred to as “secondary endolymphatic hydrops.” Treatment is focused on management of the vertigo episodes and identifying the underlying cause.

Vestibular migraines are also sometimes misdiagnosed as Meniere’s disease. Learn about vestibular migraines here.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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