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Ménière's Disease

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What are the symptoms? continued...

A few people with Ménière's disease have "drop attacks." A drop attack is a sudden fall while you stand or walk. It occurs without warning. It may feel like you are suddenly being pushed to the ground. People who have these attacks don't pass out, and they recover within seconds or minutes.

See a doctor right away if you think you have Ménière's disease. Prompt diagnosis and treatment may reduce both the discomfort of the attacks and your risk of hearing loss.

How is Ménière's disease diagnosed?

To diagnose the disease, your doctor will do a physical exam that includes checking your ears, eyes, and nervous system. The doctor will also ask questions about your past health and your symptoms, such as:

  • How you feel when you have a vertigo attack.
  • How long an attack usually lasts.
  • Whether anything seems to trigger an attack, like changing your position.
  • Whether you have other symptoms along with vertigo, like hearing loss or nausea.

Your doctor may also do tests to confirm a diagnosis of Ménière's. These tests may include:

  • A Dix-Hallpike test camera.gif to find out if certain head movements trigger vertigo.
  • Hearing tests, including one to find out if the nerve from the inner ear to the brain is working as it should.
  • A test called an electronystagmogram (ENG), which measures your eye movements. This can help the doctor find where the problem is that's causing vertigo.
  • Imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan of the head. These tests can find out if the symptoms are caused by a brain problem.

How is it treated?

Ménière's disease can't be cured. But your doctor can prescribe treatment to help control your symptoms and reduce how often you have attacks.

Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe a diuretic medicine. Diuretics help rid your body of excess fluid, so they may help prevent the buildup of fluid in your inner ear. And that may mean you have fewer attacks.

Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to use when you have an attack, such as:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 06, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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