Diagnosing Ménière's disease is not always straightforward, due to its shared symptoms with other conditions such as migraines or Labyrinthitis. If you are experiencing vertigo, tinnitus, nausea and/or hearing loss for any period of time, you should always seek the advice of your GP.
If your doctor thinks it is necessary, they may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) at your local hospital. Here, a number of hearing tests and scans can be carried out, before the best method of treatment will be decided upon by a medical professional.
Ménière's disease does not have a cure, but doctors will work with you to provide the best support and care to manage your symptoms. These treatments may include:
In order to soothe the effects of a Ménière's attack, doctors can sometimes provide medication to treat the symptoms of nausea, vertigo and vomiting. This medication is normally only provided for a period of 7 to 14 days, and tends to be either prochlorperazine or an antihistamine. For those who vomit during attacks, prochloperazine is best ingested in the form of Buccastem, a tablet you can lodge between your gums and cheek for absorption.
During the attack, you will be advised to take the medication as soon as possible, moving into a stable and steady position until the symptoms start to alleviate. In particularly severe cases, doctors can inject prochlorperazine, or admit you to hospital where you can receive intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated.
In the severest of cases, surgery can sometimes be an option to combat cases of vertigo. However, the invasiveness of the surgical procedures and their associated risks of complete deafness make it a last option after all other treatments have not worked. Depending on symptoms, there are three kinds of surgery: non-destructive, selectively destructive and destructive. All three kinds are only advised if hearing in the affected ear is still 'socially adequate'.
In order to lessen the effects of tinnitus, doctors may recommend a psychological approach, referring you to sound therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or a course of relaxation techniques. Hearing loss can also be treated with hearing aids. There are also several groups and charities offering useful and informative advice about the disease, with the ability to put you in touch with other sufferers to share experiences and support. For more information about support groups, visit the Ménière's Society website.