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Endolymphatic Hydrops/Meniere's Disease

What is it? What are the symptoms? Endolymphatic hydrops is a disorder of the vestibular system of the inner ear. It stems from abnormal fluctuations in the fluid called endolymph, which fills the hearing and balance structures of the inner ear. In a normal inner ear, the endolymph is maintained at a constant volume and contains specific concentrations of sodium, potassium, chloride, and other electrolytes. This fluid bathes the sensory cells of the inner ear and allows them to function normally. If the inner ear is damaged by disease or injury, the volume and composition of the inner-ear fluid can fluctuate with changes in the body's fluid and electrolyte levels. One or more of the following symptoms characterizes this disorder: · · · · Fluctuating hearing loss Fluctuating fullness/pressure in the ears Fluctuating tinnitus (noises in the ear) Spells of vertigo, lasting minutes to hours followed by imbalance that may persist

Meniere's Disease is the term used to describe endolymphatic hydrops when all of the above symptoms are present and hearing loss is in low frequencies. Therefore, anyone who has Meniere's has endolymphatic hydrops but everyone who has endolymphatic hydrops does not have Meniere's. In general, Meniere's is only a more symptomatic, or advanced, form of endolymphatic hydrops. Research indicates a strong correlation between the spells of endolymphatic hydrops and illness, severe noise trauma, a concussion, or ear surgery. Thus, there can be a great variability in length of time between spells from days to years. Not only is the variability of spells frustrating for patients but the secondary symptoms are frustrating as well, which may include decreased strength, loss of range-of-motion, muscle tension, anxiety and fatigue. What are the risk factors? · Middle ear infection · Syphilis · Head injury · Recent viral infection · · · · Stress Fatigue History of allergies Smoking · · Alcohol use Respiratory infection

What is the treatment? Treatment for endolymphatic hydrops is aimed at stabilizing the inner ear through medical therapy (usually a mild diuretic to eliminate excess fluid), control of related factors/disorders and, when appropriate, vestibular rehabilitation. Factors known to aggravate endolymphatic hydrops include diet (particularly salt intake), allergies and inflammation, hormones and even viruses. Vestibular rehabilitation may be used when endolymphatic hydrops results in persistent dizziness, imbalance and/or nausea. Secondary symptoms as discussed above are also addressed. The goal of vestibular rehabilitation is to decrease, if not eliminate, both primary and secondary symptoms through a "hands-on" approach. 360°Balance ­ Diagnostics & Therapy 7900 Shoal Creek Blvd., Suite 200 Austin, TX 78757 512.345.4664 Specializing in dizziness and balance disorders.


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