What’s Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance. It is induced by a rise in volume of the endolymph and therefore an increase in the  pressure in the internal ear.  It generally affects only one ear and can cause vertigo (feeling of spinning), severe dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, and a sense of fullness or congestion at the ear.  It can develop at any age, however, it is more likely to occur to adults between 40 and 60 years of age.

While no true cause is known for Meniere’s disease, several factors may have some correlation such as allergies, infection, genetics, or autoimmune disease. Here are some other possible contributing factors:

  • Tension and stress may result in attack
  • Increased fluid retention due to high sodium diet
  • High doses of aspirin can lead to ringing ears
  • Fluid retention caused by premenstrual syndrome
  • Glandular or hormonal imbalance (including hypothyroidism)
  • High cholesterol levels

Things to Avoid with Meniere’s disease

  • Eating foods containing the amino acid tyramine (like aged cheese, smoked meet, beer)
  • High intake of simple sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Low intake of water
  • Caffeine
  • High sodium diet

Chinese Medicine View on Meniere’s disease

Chinese medicine classifies Meniere’s disease under the vertigo designation. Generally vertigo is related to phlegm and dampness. The organs that are involved are the Spleen, Liver and Kidneys.  It’s often diagnosed as kidney yin deficiency causing liver yang to ascend and cause vertigo, dizziness, headache, blurred vision and tinnitus. Generally the pathogenesis is due to an excess in the upper burner and a deficiency in the lower burner.

Can Acupuncture Be Used to Treat Meniere’s disease?

Acupuncture and herbs have been clinically proven to help symptoms of Meniere’s disease and vertigo. Researchers have concluded that the combination of acupuncture with drug therapy is significantly more powerful than drugs alone.

Reference

  1. Wu Dong, Liu Bo, Wang Hongcai, Rong Peijing, Chen Luquan, Duan Jinping, Chen Chao, Zhai Xu (2018) “Acupuncture combined with oral western medication for Meniere’s disease: a randomized controlled trial” Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion Vol. 38 (10) pp. 1047-1052