First Steps in Meniere’s Disease Management

Okay, so life was sweet.  Everything was rolling along just fine when BAM! you got broadsided by the beast. The room started spinning and you started throwing up and you didn’t know quite why. After a trip to your doctor and some tests by the ENT, you were diagnosed with Meniere’s disease–something you had possibly never heard of before.  After your second attack, you started to lose hope thinking, “I can’t go on living like this.” That point could very well be one of the lowest points of your life but take heart, there are things you can do to manage this.

Your first step should be to seek out the best ENT (Ears Nose Throat Specialist) and follow his or her advice.  If you find relief via that path, Congratulations.  I am very happy for you. If you do not get the results you were looking for, read on.

The nasty virtigo attacks that come with Meniere’s disease are usually triggered by something. Common triggers include

  • Ear infections
  • Head trauma
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • High sodium foods
  • Sexual intercourse  (yeah, sorry, noone likes to hear that)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Menstruation

Your top priority will be to determine your trigger or triggers.  I need to quickly note that everyone is different and your recipe for managing Meniere’s will be different.

Get a notebook and start recording what you eat, specific activities, amount of sleep, etc. Make daily entries and record anything that you did that might be a little unusual that day.  Also record your Meniere’s disease symptoms.  What you are trying to do is determine the cause and effect.  You want to isolate what sends your world spinning.

Once you isolate your trigger, then you do what you can to reduce or eliminate it. That may not sound simple and it typically is not. For me, the trigger is stress–stress from a stressful job. I have not been in a position to just quit my job when it gets stressful so I had to learn stress coping techniques like deep breathing and meditation.

One thing that your doctor should recommend is the CATS lifestyle.  CATS stands for caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and stress. And you should remove as much of them from you life as you can. Again, you may have stress that comes from a job or a family situation and you cannot remove yourself from those. You will need to learn stress coping skills to deal with those stresses that you cannot reduce or eliminate.

One other thing to immediately consider is to reduce your sodium intake.  There is plenty of information on this site and others to help you eat a low sodium diet. This has helped many people with Meniere’s Disease.

For me personally, the three most helpful things in helping me keep the symptoms of Meniere’s disease away are acupuncture, meditation and supplements. While that is my own personal recipe, it may or may not work for you. What you need to do is try different things to find out what works for you.

At this site, you can learn what works for me and others with MD. Above all, remember that Meniere’s disease can be overcome. Do not listen to anyone who tells you to just “live with it.” No one that has told me that has been diagnosed with this ailment. Just “living with it” is not living at all.  Know that you can and will overcome.

 

For more help, see the following posts

Your First Imperative: Take Personal Responsibility

Using Your Journal to Help Manage Meniere’s Disease

How To Survive a Vertigo Attack

Managing Meniere’s Disease: CATS and SPADE