Results of Meniere’s Disease Survey: Things that Helped and Things that Didn’t

I promised that this month, I would share the results of the survey I created over at SurveyMonkey.  Lets start with the results of the questions related to treatments that would typically require a prescription from a doctor.

 

Prednisone

 

Prednisone is a steroid used to treat inflammatory diseases.  From the results shown, the majority of the survey participants had not tried it, yet of all those who did, no one complained that it made their situation worse.

Meniere's Disease Survey: Prednisone

 

 

 

Meclizine

Meclizine (or Melclozine) is an antihistamine that can be obtained over the counter or through a doctors prescription.  It is sold sold for travel sickness under a number of different names including Bonine.  A few more people have tried this than prednisone and some people complained that it did make their situation worse.
When I was first diagnosed with Meniere’s, my doctor prescribed Meclizine for me.  At that time, it was all I had.  I was having terrible vertigo attacks and nothing helped–not even popping these things like M&Ms.  I would classify my own experience as “made no difference.”  I might add, however, that my wife and daughter are big fans of Bonine in helping to curb travel sickness.
Meniere's Disease Survey: Meclizine

Diuretic

Diuretics increase the excretion of water from your body (they make you pee alot).  This helps reduce some of the fluid pressure in your inner ear.  It helps some.  It does not help others.  It did not help me but you can see that is did help some greatly.

 

Meniere's Disease Survey: Diuretic

 

Betahistine

Betahistine is an anti-vertigo drug first used in Europe in the 1970’s for Meniere’s disease. I have not tried this personally but it looks to help some and does not appear to make anyone worse off for using it.Pie Chart of the Results of the Meniere's Disease Survey: Betahistine

There was nothing in the survey that everyone had tried.  An unfortunately, there was nothing that helped everyone tremendously but there are some lifestyle changes that have  helped people out more than the drugs talked about today.  I will talk about those in a couple of weeks.

More Meniere’s Disease Successes


Meniere’s is a terrible ailment and I love it when people share what is working for them.  Meniere’s is such a complex disease because what works for one person may not work for others.  I have shared what has worked for me but that may not always help you.  So I love to pass on what others have shared with me.

I have been running a survey for a while to gain some insights into what has been helping people.  I will share those results this month.  A by-product of the survey is that some generous folks have shared some thoughts about what is working for them.  I pass those ideas along

  • I did have the Shunt surgery which helped TREMENDOUSLY, however as my doctor stated it is no cure. I wish more people would look into this because I would do it again. I have Meniere’s in my right ear and although it is very frustrating and I am constantly fighting depression over it, the surgery was a great step. I still struggle with vertigo spells occassionally but they are a few minutes as opposed to hours. That is worth it!
  • Chiropractic. It did help me tremendously with the vertigo, although not hearing loss. My vertigo returned after not going to the chiro for about 6 months. Returning has lessened the frequency and intensity of my vertigo attacks.
  • I have great success with meditation (Holosync from Centerpointe).

I have always been an advocate of meditation to help those with Meniere’s disease.  I am not familiar with Holosync but am happy for anyone that finds something that helps.

I have not had any experience using chiropractors to help with Meniere’s disease symptoms.  I’m not even sure how I would go about it.  I’d imagine that if you picked a chiropractor at random, showed up in their office and asked for help with Meniere’s disease, you might get met with a blank stare.  I suspect you need one who specializes in something or you need to ask for some specific treatment.  If you have had success using chiropractors to help with Meniere’s, please leave a comment below and tell us how it is done.

Share Your Meniere’s Disease Story: Grape Seed Extract

A few weeks ago, I asked you to share your success stories.  I received a response from Inna who has had Meniere’s disease for 30 years.  Inna has taken 100 mg of grape seed extract twice a day and been free of Meniere’s symptoms for 8 years.  Awesome advice.  Thanks for sharing.

I have written about John of Ohio before and how his analysis of supplements had helped me out.  If you aren’t familiar with John’s article, you can read about it over at menieresfoundation.org.  He does mention grape seed extract

The MM he is referring to is Morbus Meniere, the latin term for Meniere’s disease.

What is grape seed extract?

Grape seeds are a unused product of the wine industry and grape seed extract comes from those unused seeds.  Grape seed extract is known to contain such powerful vitamins and nutrients as Vitamin E, flavonoids, protiens, lipids and  linoleic acid.  It has been used to help such conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease.  There are even claims that it helps skin cancer.

 

I poked around the web and found that indeed there are people with Meniere’s disease that attribute grape seed extract to helping them manage their symptoms.  If you are so inclined, check it out.

 

Remember when adding supplements to your dietary intake, make sure and check with your doctor.

The Celebrities: Tampa Bay Forward Mattias Ritola Finds His Own Cure for Meniere’s Disease

For years, Meniere’s Disease patients have been told there’s no known treatment for their disorder, leaving us to research and discover our own ways to keep symptoms at bay. For Tampa Bay hockey player Mattias Ritola, treatment for one of his Meniere’s Disease symptoms went only as far as his local drugstore.

The hockey player found the remedy while preparing for four games that would put him on the road for a week. Airplanes have been such a challenge for the hockey player, he was considering quitting the team, since flying is required to get to games in a timely manner. The problem, experienced by many Meniere’s Disease sufferers, was the pressure created by takeoffs and landings.

The key to the earplugs Ritola found was a hole that ran through each earplug from top to bottom. These earplugs help ease the pressure in Ritola’s ears, preventing attacks that affect his game.

Ritola, who has experienced deafness in his left ear since childhood, had planned to get an injection in his ears prior to flying to help ease symptoms. The hockey player is glad the treatment will no longer be necessary, thanks to his earplugs.

Last year, Ritola’s battle with Meniere’s Disease was publicly disclosed, but he had been battling debilitating symptoms since 2010. The athlete told the Tampa Bay Times he usually knows early in the day whether or not he’ll have symptoms that day, which let him know whether or not he’d be able to play in that day’s game. Doctors had him on medications at that time to help reduce symptoms, but they could only minimize the disease, not completely treat it.

Ritola has also found relief in chiropractic treatment. The chiropractor said that by treating tense muscles, he was able to relieve the pressure on spinal nerves that impacted Ritola’s inner-ear balance. But head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan pointed out that Meniere’s Disease can often have periods of dormancy, leading patients to believe they have found a cure. With ice hockey requiring balance, the ramifications of a disease like Meniere’s can be career-crushing. 

This is a case of someone not willing to let Meniere’s disease take over his life.  Admittedly, I am not a professional athlete and my income does not depend on physical performance.  But early on, when I was struggling with the symptoms of Meniere’s, I resigned to letting Meniere’s keep me home-bound.  The second time I had to battle the symptoms, I decided to not let it control my life.  I went out with the family whenever we had something planned and even went on a backpacking trip that I had been planning for several months but was not equipped with a fully functional equilibrium.

Ritola is another case of someone living a fully productive life by managing the symptoms of Meniere’s disease.

Please remember to fill out our Meniere’s disease survey if you have not already done so.  Next month, I will roll out the results of the survey.

The Celebrities: Saxophonist Chris Potter Finds Strength in Battling Meniere’s Disease

Renowned musician Chris Potter makes beautiful music, listened to all over the world. But the saxophonist has been left partially unable to hear his own music.

Diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease several years ago.  He has battled the symptoms since then. His bouts of vertigo inspired his 1998 CD Vertigo, which was such a huge success, The New York Times named it one of the top ten jazz CDs of that year. Critics have said the CD is one of his most expressive works, perhaps because it was inspired by something so personal.

As with many Meniere’s Disease patients, Potter didn’t know what was wrong at first. His symptoms began with sudden bouts of dizziness, accompanied by occasional episodes of vertigo. 

After undergoing several surgeries, Potter eventually experienced hearing loss that led to complete deafness in one ear. While some people might let that get them down, Potter found renewed strength and determination, going on to produce some of the best music of his career.

The South Carolina native emerged on the scene at the age of 13, gaining a local following at professional jazz events. He attended school in New York, where he began performing with legend Red Rodney. After working with Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band, he moved on to a solo career, where he began receiving critical acclaim and public attention.

In recent years, Potter has been symptom-free, something he attributes to keeping a positive frame of mind. Being positive was a source of strength for the musician and has helped him get to where he is today. Not only is the artist a solo success, he often collaborates with jazz legends like Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland. He even had the opportunity to play with Steely Dan at Madison Square Garden and in 2000, was featured on the band’s Grammy Award-winning CD, Two Against Nature.

Please remember to fill out our Meniere’s disease survey if you have not already done so.  Next month, I will roll out the results of the survey.

The Celebrities: Switched at Birth’s Katie LeClerc Brings New Attention to Meniere’s Disease

ABC Family’s Switched at Birth is one of the network’s most successful series, with the network ordering thirty-two total episodes for its first season. Its teen stars were nominated for teen choice awards and millions of people tune in each week.


Twenty-five-year-old Katie LeClerc is one of the show’s breakout stars. The actress, who plays a deaf character on the show, is not only a talented actress but a role model for the network’s many young viewers. LeClerc has a hearing impairment of her own, caused by Meniere’s Disease. The actress has worn hearing aids from a young age but has found that even with the devices, some days her hearing is worse than others.


Hearing loss is a symptom of Meniere’s Disease, which has no definite cause and no known cure. In addition to permanent hearing loss, Meniere’s Disease sufferers usually experience a persistent ringing in the ear known as tinnitus. LeClerc’s sister also suffers from the malady with symptoms more pronounced than LeClerc’s.


On Switched at Birth, LeClerc plays a youth who discovers she’s been raised by parents not her own. Her own parents are raising another young girl, played by Vanessa Marano. The girls discover they were switched at birth before their parents discover it and are left to deal with the consequences.
LeClerc began her acting career in a series of commercials for products like Pepsi, and GE. By 2006, she was regularly landing roles on TV, including a recurring role on a telenovela called Fashion House, which starred Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild. She was in the Rascal Flatts music video What Hurts the Most and the TV series Veronica Mars and Saints & Sinners.


For the role on Switched at Birth, producers were hoping to find a hearing impaired actress who was beautiful and talented. They found it in LeClerc. In addition to LeClerc, the show features hearing impaired actress Marlee Matlin, the only deaf actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Sean Berdy, who plays LeClerc’s best friend on the show. Berdy is deaf as well.


Katie LeClerc has recently learned that Meniere’s Disease isn’t as rare as she once thought. Celebrities like Heather Locklear, who is said to have the disease, as well as the makeup artist on the Switched at Birth set. The actress is also thrilled to be able to work with Marlee Matlin, an actress she has idolized since childhood. While she finds inspiration in the actors that have lit up screens before her, Katie LeClerc is inspiring a new generation of TV viewers, many of whom are learning of the disease for the first time.

Please remember to fill out our Meniere’s disease survey if you have not already done so.  Next month, I will roll out the results of the survey.


Managing Meniere’s Disease by Managing Stress: Tai Chi

Those with Meniere's Disease get great results from stress reduction practices like tai chi

For over 2000 years, tai chi continues to be one of the most popular and effective exercise programs on the planet because of a number of health benefits it provides. It is a gentle physical exercise which is composed of a defined series of movements and postures.  These are executed in a slow and graceful manner without pausing. Performing this gentle yet powerful exercise brings improvements in the general health of an individual.

The most common styles of tai chi include chen, zhao bao, wu, yang, sun and hao. Each style varies in intensity and speed.  It cannot be denied that tai chi is one of the natural, holistic and effective methods to deal with stress. Other benefits of tai chi include increased flexibility, improved muscle definition and strength.  You can also gain increased stamina, agility and energy and more importantly, reduction of anxiety, depression and stress.

Stress can be beneficial to the body but too much stress can cause an individual to suffer from a number of disturbing symptoms.  Stress attacks a body at its weakest part.  That may be your ear and cause problems like Meniere’s disease.  

Today, tai chi is considered to be an effective method in managing stress and reducing the occurrence of its symptoms. Even the western societies now recognize the power of tai chi as a stress reduction method. 

Basically, tai chi works by conditioning the body and mind to achieve inner peace and calmness. It is considered as a ‘meditation in motion’ because it connects the mind and body and promotes serenity through the execution of gentle postures and movements. A performer of tai chi puts emphasis on the inflow of energy, relaxation and concentration to benefit the human body.

Tai chi movements are often executed in circular motion because it embodies both inactivity and activity which is represented by yin and yang, respectively. Tai chi is all about balancing the chi or the breath energy. Furthermore, advocates of this health exercise believe that stress is actually an expression of imbalance in the body. Hence, as tai chi provides balance in the body, it follows that tension and stress are also reduced. Tai chi is also capable of deepening breathing, reducing muscle tensions and improving postures which make it an effective mean to reduce the level of emotional stress.

A number of studies revealed that tai chi is really an effective mean of stress reduction. It reduces the stress by increasing the vitality of every cell that comprises the body. It is also capable of improving the mood and positively affects the quality of life of an individual. It provides a renewing feeling, deep relaxation and self sufficiency.  If you would like to read some of the research, go to Google Scholar and type in “tai chi stress.”

The harmonious and continuous flow of relaxed movements of tai chi promotes deep physical relaxation that helps the body obtain a relaxation response and completely eliminate stress toxins. This results to a reduced anxiety and cortisol production. Furthermore, the gentle coordination of movements of the upper and lower extremities of the body paired with deep breathing also result to achievement of internal and physical balance which is effective in reducing stress.

Please remember to fill out our Meniere’s disease survey if you have not already done so.  Next month, I will roll out the results of the survey.

Share Your Experience with Meniere’s Disease

 

Help others by filling out our survey on Meniere's Disease

Here at Overcoming Meniere’s Disease, we are all about sharing.   We like to share a little of this and a little of that and a little bit of something else.  But we also like to share in the sharing.  The beauty of Web 2.0 is that websites are more more interactive which makes your whole web experience that much more meaningful.

What I am asking you to do is share some details of your experience with Meniere’s disease so I can share that with everyone else.  You have two ways to do this and both are quick and painless:

  1. Fill out our survey
  2. Share some details of what you do to manage Meniere’s on our share your story page.

 

You are free to do one or both.  Both should take less than a couple of minutes and are anonymous. The share page asks for you name but you can insert your cousin’s name if you would like.  I will roll out the results of these two exercises in March.
  
When was the last time someone gave you a little homework?

Managing Meniere’s Disease Through Stress Management: Yoga

Those with Meniere's Disease can get great results from stress reduction practices. Yoga is great for stress reduction

Life is too fast and competitive today. Most of the people are finding it difficult to cope up with the hectic life schedule physically as well as mentally. This results in stress. Stress is sometimes useful for reacting quickly in case of an emergency. Small amounts of stress helps a student perform well on an exam. When the stress becomes prolonged and it goes beyond the normal limits, it can cause a lot of danger to the physical as well as mental health of a person.  I have talked a lot about stress before and still believe that  it is a key component to bringing your symptoms of Meniere’s disease under control.

Your body and mind needs to be relaxed if you want to reduce your stress response. If you think that relaxing means lying on the couch and watching TV, you are wrong. The nervous system loses its balance when you are in stress. To bring back the lost balance, you need to follow some relaxation techniques. There are many ways to relax. 

Yoga is definitely one of the best techniques to reduce stress. The yogasanas, that were practiced by Indian sages thousands of years ago, not only reduce stress, but also keep the body and mind healthy and fit. There are numerous yoga poses that are effective in reducing stress. A few asanas (yoga positions) are discussed below.

Bhujangasana
Lie on your stomach. Keep your palms at your chest level. Raise your body as much as possible. Let your toes and knees rest on the mat. Count up to ten. Then relax and come back to lying position slowly. 


Trikonasana
Trikon means triangle. This is also called the triangular pose. Stand with your legs apart. Let there be a three feet gap between the feet. First bend towards the right. Let your right hand touch your right foot. The left hand should be stretched upward. This gives a triangular effect. Stand in the same position counting upto ten. Then continue with the left side. 


Savasana
Sava means dead body in Sanskrit. You have to lie down on your back without any movement concentrating only on your breathing. Close your eyes and observe how your abdomen stretches out when you breathe in and how it contracts when you exhale. This is similar to the exercise I wrote about in my last post.


Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Lie on your back. Place your feet on a mat. Now lift your spine upwards. Let your hands rest near your body. Your body should look like a bridge. 


Padahastasana
Stand with your feet close to each other. Bend your back and hold your ankles with your palms. This ensures better flow of blood to the brain. This helps in reducing mental stress.


Balasana
Kneel on the mat. Make sure your hip rests on your heels. Slowly bend your head towards the mat till your forehead touches the mat. Stretch your hands over your head. This helps in relaxing your mind and body.


Yoga gives splendid relaxation to all muscles and nerves in all parts of the body. It improves the blood circulation and is very effective for stress reduction if done regularly. It is better to do asanas on an empty stomach and in the first part of your day. Spend half an hour in the morning. Then you can feel energetic and relaxed throughout the day.


You should start all asanas with a slow inhalation. Make sure you exhale slowly whenever you relax. This gives the benefits of breathing exercises along with the benefits of yogic exercises. When you practice yoga with your eyes closed, you will get the benefits of meditation too. When you lie down in poses like savasana, you get the benefits of guided imagery or visualization. Yoga provides the benefits of many relaxation techniques. 

You shouldn’t have to look far to find an opportunity to practice yoga.  It is available in most health clubs and senior citizen centers.  While it is possible to  learn from reading discussions like this or watching a yoga show on the television or internet, the best possible results will come by getting your instruction from a certified yoga instructor.

 

Managing Stress to Manage Meniere’s Disease: Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are very effective at reducing stress for those who suffer from Meniere's disease

Everyone experiences stress from time to time due to the pressures of modern living. If you don’t deal with the stress immediately, it can lead to a myriad of  health conditions. In our case, that condition may be Meniere’s disease.  Among the simplest and most popular methods for stress reduction is proper breathing. Although breathing is one of the automatic body functions, many people don’t breathe in the right manner.

To reduce and manage stress, you should learn how to breath deeply.   Normally, when you are not under stress, you breath by using your diaphragm which moves in contraction and expansion. However, you will realize that when suffering from stress, you instead are using your upper chest to take small breaths.  These breaths tend to be shallow.

How then do you learn to take long deep breaths? Here is a simple exercise that you will soon master with regular practice. You should learn this when you are calm. Then later apply what you have learned when anxiety sets in.  You need to be in a private, quiet and relaxed place in order to achieve maximum results. Focus on using your abdomen and not the upper chest. You can either lie down or just sit and close your eyes to avoid any distractions. This exercise should take ten to twenty minutes.

When you are in position, put one of your hands on your abdomen and the other one on your chest. Gently breathe in and out through your nose. Concentrate on your breathing. As you inhale, push out your belly and feel it expand.  As you exhale, let the tension you are holding in your body be exhaled as well. Push yourself to exhale as much as you can.  You will soon start feeling some sense of peace and calmness.

You can also use deep breathing in combination with visualization to reduce your stress levels. As you take deep breaths, you can imagine warmth coming to your hands and feet. This will indeed be effective in reversing your response to stress. Within no time, your hands and feet will become warmer bringing a sense of relaxation to your body.

If you get too caught up in whether you are breathing from your diaphragm or your chest, try this. Breath in as much as you possibly can.  Then inhale a little more. Follow that with a big exhalation.  Exhale as much as you can.  Don’t make this a strained exercise.  Just try to move as much air as you can.  After about ten cycles, you should start to feel a deep heavy relaxing feeling set in.  Again, this is something to practice before you really need it.  Master this technique at a less stressful time.  Then you will have it in your toolbox in the heat of battle.

Use these breathing techniques any time you need calm. When you are frustrated about something or seem to have a lot of tension in your body, deep breathing can help you get back on track. These easy stress relieving breathing methods should help you manage your stress levels more effectively.

Deep breathing is fairly easy to do.  Deep breathing costs no money and you can do it where ever you are.