Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you're spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear.
The pathophysiology of Ménière's disease is not clearly understood. It was previously thought that Ménière's was closely correlated with endolymphatic hydrops, a condition in which endolymph builds up due to an obstruction in the endolymphatic sac. Hormones such as saccin and glycoproteins are produced in excess, which may relieve the blockage and cause vertigo due to the sudden release of endolymph across the sac.
It is more commonly seen in people over the age of 40, and an estimated 45,000 individuals are diagnosed each year. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that 615,000 individuals have been diagnosed with Ménière's disease.These treatment options range from changes in lifestyle to ablative surgery.
Surgical options for patients with intractable Ménière's are vestibular nerve section or labyrinthectomy. Vestibular nerve section has been performed in cases where hearing preservation is desired. However, this form of surgery has become less popular since the widespread introduction of IT gentamicin. Labyrinthectomy is more desirable in patients who already have a substantial degree of hearing loss.
Major research on disease:
Much research has been done to determine the efficacy of treatment options for patients with Ménière's disease. A fairly high correlation of seasonal allergies exists in patients diagnosed with Ménière's disease, and studies have shown a significant decrease in vertigo symptoms for these patients after implementing allergy-avoidance behaviors and/or starting immunotherapy for allergies.