Certain self-care tactics can help reduce the impact of Meniere's disease. Consider these tips for use during an episode:
- Sit or lie down immediately when you feel dizzy. During an episode of vertigo, avoid things that can make your signs and symptoms worse, such as sudden movement, bright lights, watching television or reading.
- Rest during and after attacks. Don't rush to return to your normal activities.
- Be aware of the possibility of losing your balance. Falling could lead to serious injury. Use good lighting if you get up in the night. Consider walking with a cane for stability if you experience chronic balance problems.
- Avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery if you experience frequent episodes of vertigo. Doing so could lead to an accident and injury.
Modifying your diet can reduce your body's fluid retention and help decrease fluid in your inner ear. Your doctor may suggest you follow these dietary changes to lessen the severity and frequency of Meniere's disease symptoms:
- Eat regularly. Distributing evenly what you eat and drink throughout the day helps regulate your body fluids. Eat approximately the same amount of food at each meal. You may also eat five or six smaller meals rather than three meals a day.
- Limit salt. Consuming foods and beverages high in salt can increase fluid retention. Aim for 1,500 milligrams (mg) or less of sodium each day.
- Avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG). Some prepackaged food products and prepared restaurant foods contain MSG, a type of sodium. MSG can contribute to fluid retention. Check ingredient labels or ask your restaurant server if the food you're considering ordering contains MSG.
Other lifestyle changes
Some evidence suggests that lifestyle factors may worsen symptoms of Meniere's disease or act as triggers for the onset of symptoms. Your doctor may recommend the following changes to alleviate symptoms or help prevent the onset of symptoms.
Dec. 11, 2012
- Avoid caffeine. Foods and beverages that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee, tea and certain soft drinks, have stimulant properties that can make symptoms worse. For instance, caffeine may make ringing in the ear (tinnitus) louder.
- Stop smoking. Avoiding nicotine may lessen the severity of Meniere's disease symptoms.
- Manage stress and anxiety. It's difficult to know whether stress and anxiety act as triggers for Meniere's disease symptoms or are the result of having the disorder. Some evidence suggests, however, that managing stress and anxiety may lessen the severity of symptoms and enable you to cope with the disorder. Professional psychotherapy may help you identify stressors and develop strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety. Medications to alleviate anxiety also may be beneficial.
- Avoid allergens. Some reports note an association between allergies and Meniere's disease. Controlling your exposure to allergens and managing allergies with appropriate treatment may help manage Meniere's disease, as well.
- Migraine prevention. Emerging evidence linking Meniere's disease and migraine suggest that migraine management may lessen the severity of Meneire's disease.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Meniere's disease. Vestibular DisordersAssociation. http://vestibular.org/menieres-disease. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Dinces EA, et al. Meniere disease. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 30, 2012.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=39. Accessed Aug. 29, 2012.
- Rauch SD. Clinical hints and precipitating factors in patients suffering from Meniere's disease. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2010;43:1011.
- Heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest warning signs. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Heart-Attack-Stroke-and-Cardiac-Arrest-Signs_UCM_303977_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Meniere's disease. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/menieresDisease.cfm. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Meniere's disease. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/balance/pages/meniere.aspx. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Potassium. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/potassium. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Sodium (salt or sodium chloride). American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sodium-Salt-or-Sodium-Chloride_UCM_303290_Article.jsp. Accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
- Neff BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 18, 2012.
- Neff BA, et al. Auditory and vestibular symptoms and chronic subjective dizziness in patients with Meniere's disease, vestibular migraine, and Meniere's disease with concomitant vestibular migraine. Otology & Neurotology. 2012;33:1235.