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Ménières Disease

on November 10, 2010

I know I’ve been absent some time and not responding to comments – I’ve not been reading much online due to an onslaught of Ménières Disease (which you can read about on wikipedia here). The short version is it makes me so dizzy I can’t blog or read online. So if I missed something important, I’m really sorry!

The long version is, I’ve been having dizzy/vomiting fits sporadically – like one every six months – for two years, and occasional bouts of mild dizziness lasting several days for about 7 or 8 years prior to that, but really extremely infrequently, like maybe two or three over that whole period. The more recent ones make me completely unable to function for the duration, usually starting one evening with the sort of dizziness that feels like extreme tiredness, and then carrying on the next morning with throwing up, inability to move much, getting better towards the evening and gone by the following day. As they only ever last 24 hours we didn’t really think about trying to get a diagnosis until this time, we thought they were isolated incidents rather than an underlying condition.

Separately, I suffered a strong and apparently permanent hearing loss in one ear when Froglet was about 6 months old. At the time the ENT did every test you can think of, including an MRI, and nothing showed up at all. He also kept asking if I suffered from dizziness, and always seemed surprised when I said no – at this point I hadn’t had any at all for a couple of years. The tests did show up that my inner ear on the affected side was completely non-functional (which incidentally is a pretty cool test where they pour water in one ear and then watch as it runs out to see if it makes you feel dizzy. It should! and it didn’t for me, on that side at least.) So we went to him and tried various things for a whole year and in the end he apologised and said there was nothing more he could do but that he would keep an eye out and if anything new came up he would let us know.

Fast forward 3 years and I get the first bad dizzy spell, right after a long drive and while pregnant. We put it down to the pregnancy, mainly. Fast forward another two years and it’s now. I’m on my third dizzy bout this year, so the rate is increasing. Several times it has come on on a weekend so we’ve seen the on-call doctor rather than our own, and he has injected medication to control the vomiting and nausea, but this time it arrived on Monday two weeks ago and we were able to see my doctor and ask him if this was likely to keep happening/get worse/be treatable… and he discussed it with the ENT and got my original audiograms… and so we now have a diagnosis of Ménières disease, although in fact Ménières is idiopathic which means it’s not reeeeally a full diagnosis in itself, more a recognition of the fact that I have this recurring set of symptoms whose cause is as yet undetermined – if the cause is ever determined I will then cease to have Ménières and will have whatever that cause is instead, but in many cases no cause is ever ascertained, because the inner ear, like much that goes on inside our skulls, is still very much a mystery! (My apologies to anyone medical reading this. I know that’s a gross over-simplification!)

So I now have an appointment with the ENT next Wednesday to do a new audiogram, which they expect will show a further decline in my hearing on that side, and some other tests as well.

And the last thing to say is that although the properly incapacitating dizziness only lasted 48 hours this time, I have been dizzy in the mild-to-moderate range for the last two weeks and am only just getting over it now, and extended computer time, I have just discovered, makes it worse, so that’s all from me for now! 🙂

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One response to “Ménières Disease

  1. Well – no wonder you don't feel like doing anything! An ear dr tried to hint I might have that – and I just get severely impacted sinuses that affect my hearing (swelling under my rt. ear lobe that makes me feel like the blood is being cut off to my head), awful headaches nothing helps, having to wear a night guard because my mouth was killing me. A family practictioner (sp) put me on an antibiotic, in addition to 3 rounds of antibiotic shots – and guess waht? the swelling under my rt ear went away, my mouth guard loosened up (dont' have to wear it anymore, i.e. no pain), the headaches went away. I have discovered it is all about finding the right doctor. I'll be praying for answers, for healing – and for a good doctor!

    I hope you feel better soon! I miss you in the hood!

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