Meniere's Disease - Vertigo - Tinnitus - Dizziness - Endolymphatic Hydrops - Inner Ear Pressure - Labyrinthitis
Triggers and what to do about them
Meniere's Disease Triggers
Triggers are things that may have caused your Meniere's symptoms in the first place, but mostly are thought of as things that spark attacks once you actually already have this condition.
Triggers can arise from illness, lifestyle, your environment or the things you eat. You have to keep an open mind here and try to identify just what sparks attacks with you. If varies greatly from person to person, but there are a lot of very common ones. Once identified, with many triggers there are things you can do to avoid them. It could be a change of lifestyle, cutting out or cutting down on something in your diet or avoiding doing certain activities for example.
Some triggers to be avoided just seem like common sense, others are more obscure and contentious. It can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack when trying to identify your triggers, other times it seems very obvious. Doctors will often speak of certain triggers as being just hearsay because there is no 'clinical data' to back up the claims of their patients. The fact is though, many triggers are obvious to even the most skeptical.
Having helped support Meniere's sufferers for many years now, it seems obvious to us that common themes occur, whether clinically proven or not. We have recorded our observations and you can find them on this page. The trick is identifying your own particular triggers and taking positive action to eliminate them from your life.
In my own case I was told by some doctors that certain things in my diet would be a problem, while other doctors told me there was no 'proof' they were a problem and not to worry about them. In the end I could easily identify them as being huge triggers and could cut them out of my diet. One or two other triggers were more difficult to avoid. Luckily for me the power of the supplement system we use was good enough make these otherwise certain triggers irrelevant.
Like most things related to this condition, nothing is written in stone. It can be very different for each individual. We hope his page helps you identify your own triggers and do something about them.
If you would like help with this just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Triggers in what you eat and drink
There are a lot contentious possibilities here but the one trigger that doctors all agree on is too much Sodium. Sodium causes the body to retain fluid. The build up of fluid in the ear is what is thought to cause the endolymphatic sac in the inner ear to swell and put pressure on the hearing and balance nerves close by.
Doctors will put Meniere's patients on a strict low salt diet, so it only makes sense to be careful about eating foods high in salt. That includes all junk food and highly processed foods.
A diet high in fat may also cause problems, as plaque from colesterol builds up inside the blood vessels. Anything that obstructs the flow of blood around the inner ear may well contribute to Meniere's symptoms. As sugar is stored in the body as fat, it makes sense to eat a diet not too high in sugar and saturated fats.
People have noticed that eating too much sweet food and especially chocolate can bring on attacks quite quickly as can drinking drinks full of caffeine. Opinions differ on this, so as with all these possible triggers it is up to you to keep an eye on what you eat and drink and you'll soon realize if these things are causing you problems.
Alcohol and especially beer, is thought to be a trigger for many. Firstly alcohol is toxic to the inner ear and beer depending on the type and brand can often be full of sodium, making it double trouble. Again it is up to you to take note, if you are regularly having attacks during drinking, shortly afterwards or the next day then it would make sense to avoid alcohol for a while to see if that makes a difference. You may want to cut your drinking down or cut it out altogether, or you may not be affected. It's up to you to find out and take action if needed.
I personally was told by one doctor that I should avoid beer, and then by another that it was no problem at all. I later learned through experience that it was a massive trigger for me. Now I am healthy, I do drink in moderation occasionally with no problems.
Possible Triggers in Your Environment
People notice an increase in pressure in their ears when there are barometric changes in the atmosphere. It sounds far fetched, but low pressure systems seem to put lots of pressure on the ears. Many people complain that heavy damp weather tends to spark attacks. Doctors may or may not agree but this is a common observation by Meniere's sufferers.
My wife often laughs, because even now after six or seven years free of Meniere's symptoms, I can predict if there is a nasty storm or Typhoon on it's way (I live in Japan). I will feel an unusual pressure in my left ear at these times.
There is of course nothing you can do about changes in the weather or air pressure, but it would be perhaps wise to eliminate as many other possible triggers in your life as you can at this time to give yourself a chance.
Allergies from the air and sinus problems seem to be a factor with many people. Hay fever and the like, causing inflammation around the nasal passage and sinuses and clogging up the ears with pollen would seem an obvious candidate and many people do seem to have problems with this.
Wearing a mask during allergy seasons and steaming the sinuses clear regularly may help. More on possible environmental triggers below.
When I was at my lowest point, the possibility of mold being a trigger was mentioned to me. In Japan the rainy season makes everything so damp that if no precautions are taken even the clothes in your drawers rot with mold! Around this time I moved a chest of drawers to clean behind and found a huge growth of mold. This had been just a few feet from my bed.
Chemicals in the workplace, household goods or being used in industry near you may even contribute. We have heard of people stop using certain household cleaners or looking at triggers in their work environment. More on this below.
Smoking is the most obvious and most doctors will advise Meniere's sufferers to quit. Easier said than done I know, but with the smoke clogging up your tubes when what you need is the complete opposite it would make sense to wouldn't it?
Stress is highly debated as a trigger. In theory, as stress is known to make the blood vessels contract it makes perfect sense that this would be a factor. It is interesting that the people who dismiss stress as a factor have never suffered from Meniere's.
Personal experiences show, that either during or following severely stressful situations and especially prolonged stressful situations, increased pressure and extreme vertigo would follow.
What to do about stress is a big question. There are stress management techniques, relaxation techniques and therapies that undoubtedly help, but they do not stop the source of the stress. Work, money and relationship stresses are things that only you can deal with. After getting better on the supplement system, I decided never to get stressed over work or the kind of day to day relationship problems that most people have to deal with ever again. After beating Meniere's I now find it easy stay 'relatively' calm over these things. For suggestions about stress and Meniere's Disease click here
Recreational Drugs, as with smoking, are an obvious no no. They often deplete the body of vital nutrients and as a result weaken your immune system, opening the way to illness, like Meniere's.
Over-Work making you either mentally or physically tired is also going to weaken you and lower your defenses.
Lack of Sleep, is agreed to be a problem. Meniere's sufferers need their sleep. You know how much sleep your body needs, so make sure you are getting it.
The following article was kindly given to us by Karin Henderson from menieres-disease.ca, who we have worked with for several years, trying to help support Meniere's sufferers.
OUR OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MENIERE'S SYMPTOMS
This short document is only an overview of things we have observed in our many years of corresponding with Meniere's sufferers. It will list some of the ideas we have learned. This information comes from people who cared about enough about others to share their experiences. (written by Karin Henderson)
Please remember that this is NOT to be taken as medical advice. It is a compilation of thoughts and shared ideas. It is a change in the traditional way of thinking about the diagnosis and treatment of Meniere's Disease and other related conditions. I hope this short message will make you aware of other possibilities and give you hope and determination to take back control of your life.
Have you had any dental surgeries, such as root canals, tooth capping, or TMJ's?
Do you have Amalgam fillings? (The silver ones.) (These contain mercury.) Please check these two sites out. If you have any mercury amalgam fillings, just this knowledge alone could help your situation.
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Dr. Tom McGuire (He set up the SANOVIV Mercury free dental clinic
Do you have a toothbrush that vibrates?
Do you eat or use artificial sweeteners...or drink diet pop or fruit drink crystals? (92 different symptoms have been identified with the use of these.)
Do you think your sinuses might be plugged? They are supposed to act as a filtering and cleaning system.
Do you have allergies? Often these are confused with intolerances, chemical interactions, or sensitivities, but they can still cause a problem.
Have you ever lived, or do you now, live in a home that might have had a flood or major dampness and now is dried? (Mold could be a BIG problem!)
Are you be doing any major renovations? This could be disturbing “elements” that have been quiet and undisturbed for a long time? Could you be exposing dust, mold, or other undesirable "things"?
Have you ever been exposed to: noxious fumes, pesticides, time release fertilizers on lawns or on golf courses, or other such chemicals? Do you have any the chemicals stored throughout workrooms, garages, basements, and attics?
How do you tolerate monosodium glutamate (MSG), (found in many pre-packaged or prepared foods), nitrites, sulfites, and pickles well?
Are you doing your usual heavy exercises? (Too much exercise show up as oxidative stress?)
Do you ever question drugs and drug interactions? Did you know that many drugs present their own side effects? These maybe be causing some interactions with other medications?
Are you drinking decaffeinated teas and coffees, or herbal teas? Did you know that some herbal teas are the basis of some drugs? Are you aware that the decaffeination process 'might' be harmful?
Do you use nailpolish? Nail polish remover with acetone?
Do you use cosmetics? Wear earrings or other jewelry?
Have you ever considered the chemicals for laundry and fabric softener products that go onto your skin? (You could be "wearing" them all day long.)
Do you think you could have a latex allergy? It is used in things like make up sponges, condoms, household, or garden gloves.)
I'll close with another two unusual items. But they are very real: cell phones and microwave ovens.
This list is incomplete, but it gives you an idea of how common irritants are in your life. Does all this sound farfetched to you? It did to us until we started to look at what could be happening in the inner ear and its nerves. it took a shift in thinking for us as well. Ask yourself why something would affect one person and not the other? Maybe one person’s immune system is stronger than the other person’s?
The first step is to think about the ideas you have read here and to take a little action. If you think something could be a factor, change whatever you do. Experiment.
The America Medical Association came out with some very “enlightening” information last year about the use of nutritional supplements and adults. Your body is one very large system and is made up of smaller "unique" systems, but they all work together in harmony and synergy. When one has more that its share of "free radicals" or irritants, the entire body shifts its attention.
Other Vertigo or Dizziness Triggers known when you have Meniere's:
Watching TV, Flashing lights, Driving (especially at night), Quick movements of the head, Bending down, Staring at computer screens, reading (especially while moving in trains or cars), Bright light, Noise, Headphones, Washing your hair, Supermarket aisles, over (physical) training
It is generally accepted that a lifestyle free of stress, with a healthy diet and sensible exercise is a good thing for Meniere's sufferers (like anybody else really!). I believe that there is not just one single trigger for us but many. For example, having the odd beer 'might' not affect you. On the other hand, having a stressful day at work, coming home to your partner shouting at you, eating junk food all day, smoking and going out drinking all night followed by snacks, milk chocolate and coffee then going to work the next day without much sleep is obviously not going to be a good idea. You need to give yourself every chance of avoiding attacks.
Identifying what you think is triggering attacks for you, and taking action may well help you a great deal over time. In fact we have seen it help a great deal with many people.
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