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Ménière's disease

Ménière's disease is an ear condition that can cause sudden attacks of vertigo (a spinning sensation).

During an attack of Ménière's disease you may feel like you or everything around you is spinning, lose your balance and feel sick.

Treatments for Ménière's disease include medicines to stop you feeling dizzy and sick. You may also need treatment for other symptoms like tinnitus.

You're more likely to get Ménière's disease if you have poor fluid drainage in your ear, allergies or a problem with your immune system.

Read more on the NHS website.

During an attack of Ménière's disease you may feel like you or everything around you is spinning, lose your balance and feel sick.

Symptoms of Ménière's disease

During an attack of Ménière's disease, you may:

These symptoms, which typically happen all at once, can last minutes or hours, but most commonly last 2 to 3 hours.

The condition usually starts in 1 ear, but can spread to both ears over time.

It can take a day or 2 for the symptoms to disappear completely. You may feel tired after an attack.

Symptoms vary from person to person, but an attack of hearing loss without vertigo is uncommon.

Attacks can occur in clusters or several times a week, or they may be separated by weeks, months or years.

Ménière's disease most commonly affects people aged 20 to 60. It's uncommon in children.

See a GP if you think you may have Ménière's disease. It can lead to permanent hearing loss if it's not treated.

Read more on the NHS website.

Treatments for Ménière's disease include medicines to stop you feeling dizzy and sick. You may also need treatment for other symptoms like tinnitus.

Medical treatments

There's no cure for Ménière's disease, but medicine can help you control vertigo, nausea and vomiting.

The 2 medicines usually recommended by GPs are:

  • prochlorperazine – helps relieve severe nausea and vomiting 
  • antihistamines – help relieve mild nausea, vomiting and vertigo

The aim is to get the medicine into the body as soon as possible at the first sign of any symptoms.

If these medicines work, a GP may give you a supply to keep for you to take quickly during an attack.

You may also need treatment for:

Distress is common in people with Ménière's disease, as it's difficult and unpredictable.

A GP can offer advice and support if you're finding it difficult to cope with the effect Ménière's disease is having on your life.

You may be offered:

There are also a number of support groups, such as the Meniere's Society, that can provide assistance and advice.

Self-care

Ménière's disease can cause you to lose balance.

At the first sign of an attack:

  • take your vertigo medicine if you have some
  • sit or lie down
  • close your eyes, or keep them fixed on an object in front of you
  • do not turn your head quickly
  • if you need to move, do so slowly and carefully

Once the attack is over, try to move around to help your eyesight and other senses compensate for the problems in your inner ear.

Read more on the NHS website.

You're more likely to get Ménière's disease if you have poor fluid drainage in your ear, allergies or a problem with your immune system.

Read more on the NHS website.