Treatments for Meniere’s Part 1- Diet

In the next few posts I’m going to focus on some of the many treatments for Meniere’s and direct you different personal blogs for people who have tried these treatments so you can go and read how they have worked with other people.

Remember, different treatments for different people.  Treatments that work (or don’t work) for some people, may not work (or work) for others.  The important thing is that there are many options to help control our symptoms, and there are new options being developed.  Don’t give up hope.  I almost did and it nearly killed me.  There is a big difference in accepting that we have this illness and giving up hope that something may help.

Of course the first treatments I should talk about are the treatments I have undergone.

image from newsformyhealth.com

Change your Diet – Normally, when you are first diagnosed with Meniere’s you are put on a Low Sodium diet.  I’ve heard differing opinions as to how much sodium is enough without getting too much.  At first I was told to keep my sodium intake at about 2,000 mg per day (1 teaspoon), then it was lowered to 1,000 a day, then I was told that wasn’t enough and I should shoot for 1,500.  You should discuss with your doctor about a recommendation for you.  The theory behind this treatment is that we have too much fluid in the endolymphatic system, and staying on a low sodium diet should reduce this fluid.  This seems to work for many people.  Even if it doesn’t totally relieve their symptoms, it helps, and I’ve heard many people say that when they have eaten too much salt their symptoms gets worse.  How did this work for me?  I continued to have attacks despite how little sodium I ate.  I really didn’t see a difference for me.  I don’t think a lot of sodium is good for anyone and I still don’t eat a lot of salt.  I’ve gotten so used to not eating salt I really enjoy the taste of the food I’m eating without salting it.  My total sodium consumption per day is normally between 1000mg and 1500mg.

I was also told to avoid alcohol and keep caffeine consumption to a minimum.  I found that alcohol in a trigger.  I can have a glass of wine now and then, but that’s about it.  If I consume too much alcohol, for me that means a couple of drinks, then I get dizzy and that can trigger a vertigo attack.  I don’t consume much caffeine at all.  I will have the occasional small piece of Dark Chocolate, and I may drink one drink with caffeine in it once a week or less.  I don’t feel great when I consume too much caffeine, but I’ve never felt like it triggered my Meniere’s.

Some people have a hard time with too much sugar, chocolate, nicotine…

I don’t eat a lot of sugar, if I do have too much I find that I get very jittery and can get dizzy.   I love a good little piece of Dark Chocolate.  I only have a small amount when I eat chocolate, usually less than an ounce.  It doesn’t seem to cause me any problems.  However, Milk Chocolate has too much sugar and I can only have it in very small quantities.

I’ve never smoked, so nicotine isn’t a factor for me.  However, I have problems being around cigarette smoke.

Avoid triggers – I know this isn’t necessarily diet, but it could be if you are allergic, or intolerant to different foods.  Different people have different triggers.  Some people have food allergies and they can be a trigger.  I have a wheat allergy and can’t tolerate gluten at all, so I have cut that out of my diet.  This did improve my symptoms.  Especially the brain fog.

I also have asthma, but it isn’t bad.  However, if I am around strong scents (like perfume, cigarette smoke, or gasoline, among others) I will have an asthma attack.  I have found this to be a trigger for me, so I try to stay away from strong scents.

Many people who have allergies find that they will increase their symptoms.  I suffer from allergies (grass, some trees, dust…).  Whenever my allergies are acting up, my Meniere’s symptoms get worse.

Stress – Stress is often a trigger for Meniere’s patients.  I think stress can be a trigger for me, but I’m not sure.  Sometimes when I had increased stress I would have an attack, other times I wouldn’t.  I think stress is hard on anyone for many reasons, not just Meniere’s, so I suggest you try to reduce your stress as much as possible.

Again, this is just my experience.  Everyone is different.  You can read more about treatments for Meniere’s on Meniere’s Info.com.

Next post: Treatment of Meniere’s Part 2 – Medication

Please comment on your experience with changing your diet.  Have you tried this?  Did it help?  Did your doctor tell you something different?


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4 thoughts on “Treatments for Meniere’s Part 1- Diet

  1. My dad had meniere’s when I was growing up, so I was used to my food having little or no salt. I don’t have meniere’s myself, but I have a chronic disorder that requires me to, in my doctor’s words eat “as much salt as I can stand.” It almost amazes me how much diet really can make a difference. And after a lifetime of no salt, it’s actually kind of gross.

    I found you through the PFAM carnival. I can remember seeing my dad on the bathroom floor convinced he was dying, and while that was through a child’s eyes, I know that Meniere’s can be terrible and I just wanted to know that you’re in my prayers.

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  2. Hi Wendy,
    Most of my triggers you mentioned…I have a lot although salt, allergies and stress seem to be the biggies. Sleep is huge for me too. When I get tired I almost go into a state of panic if I can’t get home and into bed. But perhaps sleep and stress go hand in hand as well!
    When I was first diagnosed, my ENT told me low sodium, no caffeine and low alcohol (he said this disease was crazy and I may need a drink from time to time!) As funny as he was trying to be I am scared silly of alcohol. One drink would make me dizzy so I stay way, far away! Caffeine irritates my migraines too so that is a no-no.
    Looking forward to your future posts. Great idea!
    Deb 🙂

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  3. Wendy,
    Wow! Very insightful post. I’m really new to Meniere’s and so I’m learning so much by reading this. I changed my diet drastically May 2010 to help with my Migraine food triggers. I went to a nutritionist and got a blood test to see what foods my body was sensitive to (I have a wheat allergy as well) and did a drastic elimination diet. My Meniere’s symptoms started many months after my diet change, so I don’t think diet plays a role in my Meniere’s triggers. I don’t eat anything processed and only eat whole foods, so I am pretty good on the food front.
    I never thought about strong scents or allergies triggering Meniere’s as those things do trigger my Migraines. I will have to pay attention to stress as a trigger. That is one I had not heard of, so I will have to be extra aware of that. Excited about this series. Glad you are doing it!

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  4. Pingback: #HAWMC Day 26 – Care Page for the Newly Diagnosed with Meniere’s | Picnic with Ants

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