My first attacks actually started while I was active duty Navy. I’d been crouched under a dark aircraft for a good couple hours working on an engine and when I came out into the bright hangar bay, I got dizzy. It was easily brushed off as, “A head rush. Clearly I was under there too long.” But they continued.
And of course, before seeking a doctor’s advice, I got pregnant. And so any complaints of dizziness were brushed off as, “Well, you’ve got double the amount of fluid in your body right now; of course you’re going to be dizzy.” So it continued and I thought it was just a bothersome thing I’d have to deal with because, clearly, my body was more sensitive to how much fluid was in it than most people.
It wasn’t until after my separation from the Navy (honorable, just early for parenting conflict reasons), and after our second child that my husband said, “You know, I think you should go have this checked out.” So I did.
The doctor said it was BPPV – benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, as we all know – and there wasn’t anything he could really do about it, except give me some exercises to do and tell me to come back if it got worse. Well. Thanks for that, doc.
And then we moved from Washington to Nevada. For a time, I ignored the “spells,” as I called them. What else was I to do? But, of course – they got worse.
So it was back to the doctor with me. This time a new doctor, on a new base. He repeated many of the same in-office tests and checked my ears, cleaned them out, and gave me a referral to an ENT.
The ENT agreed with the BPPV diagnosis initially, and sent me for balance therapy. It helped a bit, and I enjoyed the sessions and the physical therapist I was working with.
Then I had a seizure.
Seizures are, of course, not usually related to Meniere’s, but migraines are related to Meniere’s and – to all our best knowledge after over a year and a half of research and trial & error – this seizure was migraine related.
Thus began the experimentation into how much effect, if any, food had on my Meniere’s. This is what we learned:
MSG has an insane effect on Meniere’s for me. If a food has MSG in it, within fifteen to thirty minutes of consuming the food, my heart rate will be doubled, I will be short of breath, experiencing hot/cold flashes, and – but of course – vertigo attacks that leave me bedridden.
The label “MSG” also happens to include High Fructose Corn Syrup. So you can imagine the rage I have at those, “It’s just like sugar!” commercials. No, it is not.
Of course, salt has an effect, from previous knowledge of how sensitive I am to fluid retention. So I’ve greatly decreased my salt intake.
In addition, I, the big coffee drinker, have had to seriously cut back on the caffeine intake. I usually only have a cup in the morning, and perhaps one in the afternoon or one in the evening. The interesting thing here is that I don’t feel as awful if I stick to grinding the beans myself and brewing it in a press-pot. I have yet to figure out the connection there.
What other treatments have we tried? Well.
Diuretic – The diuretic does seem to help, especially around my monthly cycle.
My first ENT had me on so many steroids…
Oral Prednisone – This. One. Sucked. I felt nothing but the side effects. I was moody, always short-tempered, tired, loopy, and I gained seven pounds.
Ciprodex ear drops – This was after the ENT installed a tube in my ear drum in order to better administer the ear drops. I’ll cover the tube in a moment. The Ciprodex really didn’t seem to help all that much. My inner ear was incredibly sensitive to the temperature the drops were at, and it seemed to actually spark a vertigo episode rather than help any.
Steroid injections – I don’t remember the name of the steroids they injected through the tube, but these? Did nothing.
So when I got sick of my first ENT running up the insurance costs for steroid treatments, I found another ENT. This one now has me on
Triamterene – water pill, of course
Elavil – Anti-depressant, with surprisingly unexpected helpful effects for those with Meniere’s
Meclizine – Emergency anti-nausea anti-vertigo med for when I have an attack.
Unfortunately, as with the past few days, we’ve discovered that the Elavil – a second round after a 1 month break – is no longer working.
And, thus? The search continues. I’m only 26 – there’s time, right? 😉
7 thoughts on “Meniere’s Treatments, Guest Post – Lin”
Very interesting post. You sound like a very busy lady and for you have to deal with this illness is terrible.
Yes, there is time. It will be hard for you and your family but there is time; and plenty of other possible treatments. If you haven’t already, read through the treatment posts and you’ll see it usually takes a while to find something that works. Oh, and its odd that grinding and pressing coffee would do better since I thought that meant more caffeine :). You could always try tea 🙂 (http://submitinfographics.com/all-infographics/the-health-benefits-of-coffee-vs-tea-infographic.html).
Just in case anyone was wondering…Hubby, is my hubby. He always reads, but rarely comments.
I hope everyone is getting as much information from the Meniere’s Treatments series as I have.
Thank you for sharing your Menières story. I hope you will find the right cure for you, it can be rather depressing trying treatment after treatment without being helped.
About coffee -I´ve never stopped drinking coffee and cannot find any relation between drinking coffee and getting dizzy. Someone told me that if you drink the same amount every day the body gets used to this. I don´t know if this is correct but I´m happy I still can have my coffee : ) Alcohol is worse, but I´ve never liked to drink much. Half a glass of wine is ok. Drinking more gives me a more severe hangover than expected. And anything that makes me dizzy is not worth it.
What works for one maybe doesn´t work for someone else. You have to try yourself to see what is good for you.
Thank you so much for having me guest post! It felt so good to be able to share!
Alcohol really does seem to be the worst for me next to MSG and other food additives. I still have a glass or two on the weekends, but it’s only when I’m with my husband, since he’s the one who best understands my situation and best understands how to help me in case it hits too hard. But, usually? I just stick to my one beer with him before we curl up in bed.
Thank you Lin for sharing!!
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