Ménière’s disease

An inner ear disorder characterized by recurrent vertigo, deafness, and tinnitus. The cause is a build-up of fluid in the labyrinth. The fluid build-up may damage the labyrinth and sometimes the adjacent cochlea. The disease is uncommon before the age of 40. There is a sudden attack of vertigo, lasting from a few minutes to several hours. This is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, nystagmus, and deafness, tinnitus, and a feeling of pressure or pain in the affected ear. Diagnosis is usually made with audiometry (see hearing tests) or other hearing tests, and a caloric test. Treatment with certain antihistamine drugs, such as cinnarizine, or with betahistine usually relieves the symptoms, although prochlorperazine may be given, either rectally or by injection, for severe attacks. Ménière’s disease can also be treated by surgery to the inner ear if symptoms are not controlled by drugs. If deafness eventually becomes total, the other symptoms usually disappear.


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