Karin & David Henderson

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Maple Ridge, B.C.

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Meniere’s Disease and the Inflammatory Process.


As you may know, I spend a lot of time helping people understand their Meniere’s Disease symptoms. Several times a day people will call and we go over these. They learn how their body functions and what happens when their body reacts in ways they don’t appreciate.
In these calls, I go over what I am about to share with you. Why would I want to share this information with you? Because I think it would be really helpful as additional information when you need to make some decisions about your own health and Meniere’s Disease.
If you know how your body reacts naturally and how it is meant to protect you, it would make sense to use that knowledge with confidence. And with more knowledge and confidence you have more control of yourself, of your health and your environment.

Would your perceptions change if you really understood your body and how really wants to protect you? I hope so. If you are the caregiver for other family members, you could also explain to them what “things” are happening. Obviously you will be able to make more informed decisions for yourself and guide others a little more confidently.

We are dealing with Meniere's disease, a condition that is with you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week: year in and year out.

My goal is to help you recognize its “presence” and be informed as to what to expect.  So I hope that by giving you “easy to understand” explanations and lots of examples, in very “simplistic terms”, you can now understand things better and can think a little differently. This information is not meant to be used for any medical treatment. For that, please consult your doctor.
As in all my health articles, please respect the fact I am trying to share information about Meniere's disease that helps you to think a little differently. Please don’t use this to make any medical changes to your own situation. That is not my intent. I will have more to say about that later on.

I do not apologize for the simplicity of the examples or thoughts. My purpose is to get you to think, to question things you don’t understand, to use your common sense. Don’t kid yourself; you instinctively have a lot of common sense. We are born with it and it is meant to serve you. And as you learn to question what might be happening in your body, your actions might also be different with this new knowledge.

What is the inflammatory process?

It is certainly one of the main “contributors” to any reactions that go on in your body. It is automatic and swift. It is involuntary. You have no warning it will happen, BUT its INTENTION is to PROTECT you. As you read on, please start to think how you can now start using this knowledge to understand your own situation(s).
The term “inflammatory process” may not mean much to you, but its physical action on your body is vitally important. From the slightest seemingly harmless bump on your arm to major diseases, like Meniere's Disease, the inflammatory process is at work to keep you as healthy as possible or to restore your health as best as it can, depending on its own health. 
I think we feel it is sophisticated to avoid the simple things and go for the drugs and the chemicals when we get sick, or experience a Meniere's disease attack. But is it? We desire the latest technologies, drugs, and gadgets. We have abandoned some of the simpler solutions. Further along I will share one of my most frequent explanations that reflect this attitude. This may not be ultra- sophisticated, but you will see in the “sinus cleaning” example, how a simple idea works wonders!
Before I give you some definitions of the inflammatory process, let me give you a ridiculous example, but it illustrates the idea very clearly. Suppose you put your hand on a hot element on your stove. Your body acts instinctively to remove your hand from the harmful effects of that heat. That is how quickly your body reacts. Despite your “foolishness”, your body has already started the healing process.

Not only has it sprung into action and removed your hand from further harm. It has also started to bring together a lot of other properties to help heal the damage underway. Did you make any decisions to help in the process? No. You had no chance and no choice. All you did was put your hand on the burner.
Let’s look at some definitions of this action. Mosby’s and the Medline Encyclopedia offer these explanations about the inflammatory process, inflammation, and infection. The inflammatory process is the protective response of the body’s tissues to irritation or injury: may be acute or chronic.

The severity, timing, and local characteristics of any particular inflammatory response depend on the cause, the area affected and the condition of the host. (Please remember this sentence).  Histamine and various other substances “mediate” the inflammatory process…example: inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

“Inflammation” is a process that brings blood and white cells to the injured or irritated area.

It is characterized by heat, swelling, redness, and pain. It is the tissue reaction of the injury, direct or indirect. “Infection” is the invasion and multiplication of any organism and the damage caused by this in the body.

“Inflammatory response” is tissue reaction to injury and or an antigen.

The response may include pain, swelling, itching, redness, heat, loss of function, or a combination of symptoms. There may be dilation of the blood vessels leakage of fluid to the vessels, causing edema (swelling).

An important point to remember is that just as the fluid and other elements are activated, so they subside once their job is done. Also all functions resume their normal activities. The crisis is over and life becomes normal once again.

However, there are times when this process will not subside but carry on for long time. It is felt that this leads into oxidative stress. This is a condition that resembles your body rusting out in certain areas. There is a lot of research underway related to this concept.
I don’t want you to see this as a very complicated or process. See it as a basic, vital, automatic function of your body. Can you then understand what happens if you don’t have it? You would be in a real mess! I want to walk you through several examples and show what happens to you physically as your body gets into “inflammatory action or reaction”.

There are many articles explaining this automatic response. My hope is that once you understand this a little better, you may not be so quick to reach for a drug, but instead allow your body to do “its thing”. Now that you have been made aware of it, you may not be so quick to take it for granted.
We have been programmed to get medical advice for any sort of situation. But is that always necessary? If you have more knowledge, maybe you could find some practical solutions. I’ll give you examples where common sense seems to be missing, yet could possibly clear up a problem quite quickly and easily.

Can you already see your body’s response when you have hives from a bee sting? Or sinusitis, appendicitis, or (coronary) artery disease? (The “itis” means inflammation or infection: medical terminology.)
There is much research going on. It is felt that long-term or chronic inflammation results in oxidative stress. I printed an article from the Time magazine February 23, 2004 “Inflammation Is The Killer The Surprising Link Between Inflammation and Asthma, Heart Attacks, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, And Other Diseases.” written by Christine Gorman and Alice Park.

I was very disappointed in the level of knowledge required in order to understand the information. You almost needed to be a scientist. Just reading this article inspired me to help you understand your body a little better and explain how the inflammatory process acts on your body.
In the following examples, I will also point out when the “result” is “internal” or “external”. Being “internal” or “external” reflects on how the resulting fluid or swelling (edema) spreads out. But the idea is that either way, the fluid HAS to go somewhere. If it spreads internally, it may press down on structures that change the “next step”. That will become apparent as I work through each idea.
Let’s start with stubbing your toe. How does the inflammatory process come into play here? Immediately on stubbing your toe, it swells and expands externally, it throbs (pressure), it hurts (Pain) and you feel it getting warmer (Heat)

If you go back the definition, “inflammation” is a process that brings blood and white cells to the injured or irritated area. It is characterized by

  • Heat
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain

It is the tissue reaction of the injury, direct or indirect.”

Here is the inflammatory process activated through trauma. In this case the swelling is an example where there is room for the fluid to expand. But it can only do this if there room for this to happen. Once the skin can’t expand any longer, one of two things can happen;

  1. The skin “weeps”
  2. The skin splits (we call it breaking, but in reality you can only break solid things, and skin is not solid.)

Another example is dust in your eye. Again, your body reacts immediately to this intruder by bringing in extra fluid, etc. to wash it (dust/intruder) away. In this case, the inflammatory process again expands outwardly.

Externally, you feel the tears. (But you could have internal eye pressure as well. This might be brought on by something irritating a part of the inside of the eye such as in glaucoma. Then the pressure could well affect the optic nerve.)
Now let’s look at another few examples where the fluid can’t get outside. So it expands internally. Remember, this is an automatic response. Your bodies inflammatory process has NO CHOICE BUT to respond. Internal expansion would happen in a toxic liver, an inflamed gallbladder or a hot appendix.

It is this very same inflammatory process in progress. Luckily most of the fluid has room to expand somewhere inside. If you ever see someone with a big tummy, it might be form an abnormal growth of their liver (not because of a beer belly). Avoid the temptation to poke them, please!
In all these cases, your body “creates” this fluid to wash out the unwanted toxins or irritants. The actions are the same as are the results: in each case, fluid is created and can be accommodated. There are some unusual cases where there is a great amount of fluid production. Your body then has to extend itself by stretching the skin…or push down on existing soft tissue.
Here is an example of the inflammatory process occurring in a confined space. The inner ear is one place where there is very little room for fluid expansion. So anything in the way of extra fluid creation, has to find room to spread out, but where? Obviously, it will have to press down on the soft tissue in the area.

Bone can’t be compressed. The soft tissue in that area includes the balance (vestibular) nerve and the hearing (acoustic) nerve. So if there is unusual amount of pressure, it follows that signals to and from the nerve(s) would or could be distorted and incorrect.
For many people with this kind of “error”, the resulting symptoms would naturally have to do with balance: vertigo (or vertigo disease as it is sometimes called) or dizziness, hearing: fluctuations and noises (tinnitus) and these are all symptoms of Meniere's Disease. That is what these nerves are related to. Does it not also then follow if the resulting pressure is relieved in some way, the symptoms would go away?
If all is well, and your body is healthy, this swelling will subside, with few long-term affects. Remember that no part of your body is exempt from this process. As already stated, this is automatic and consistent. It happens in your brain and in your toe, and anywhere in between. You have no control over its start or its completion.
However there are drugs than can influence the inflammatory process not to work as effectively as nature has meant it to do. These chemicals (drugs) are used when you want to get rid of the natural results from the exposure of the irritant: from the inflammatory process’s natural healing function.

For instance, I know with Meniere’s Disease sufferers, the “normal treatment” is to try and reduce the pressure, and possibly pain, in the ear, by inserting tubes to act as conduits. But from what you have already read here, you know that this produces its own irritation and most likely will result in more inflammatory process at work.

Often drugs are instilled to reduce this (natural) pressure, and may be creating more irritation. Also drugs such as very strong antibiotics are injected to reduce the effectiveness of the IP. That term is called ototoxic. And it means something is supposed to be harmful to the ear.
With this bit of knowledge, you may want to question using something that slows down your healing. What is your responsibility in all of this if it needed? Ask yourself if you keep yourself healthy, by eating properly and adequately, and by recognizing things that might be harmful. Then make some informed decisions.
Here is an example of something I come across every single day when I talk to people about their Meniere's disease symptoms. Sinus problems. I want to take a few moments to help you understand and think through what many people do routinely: when we suspect we find ourselves in these situations.
Something (decaying plants, or noxious fumes, or tree pollen, etc.) comes into your head and respiratory system, and sets off the inflammatory process in one or more of these filtering “sponges” known as your sinus tissue. It is the tissue’s responsibility to filter out this intruder (cause).

This inflammatory process now the increases its fluid production (result). Other healing or cleaning ingredients available from the body are also activated. (See definition.) Eventually this results in a dripping action. (Successful filtration.) And that is the body’s way to get the debris out of your body.
But let me explain what our regular or normal actions end up doing. I imagine that you probably don’t like this result (drippy nose, itchy eyes, sinus pressure, or post nasal drip.) Your sinuses have done a really good job of filtering and now the fluid containing all this debris has to go somewhere. So you take drugs such as decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays. Do you see what you have just done? You have stopped the body’s natural actions to get this unwanted stuff out of your body.

So the intruder still sits in there, possibly leading to another Meniere's disease attack

With your inflammatory process in limbo, causing havoc, your body has no way to prevent the immediate intrusion and all this confusion in your body could be triggering your Meniere's disease symptoms.

Is this really what you wanted to achieve? Do you think a shrunken, dried sinus sponge can help you at all now? A healthy sponge or sinus tissue is moist and capable of “cleaning” or in this case, filtering. Look at a sponge at home. You always have to moisten it to make is work. Otherwise it is dry and scratchy, and you don’t get anything done.
One of the other treatments I hear about is the nasal sprays and also a device called a “Netie Pot”. Think this through clearly. Your goal is to get rid of the irritant that is plugging your nose and or sinuses, right? Why would you then want to put a solution INTO the area that contains salt?

Salt IN anything draws fluid TO itself. If you have the salt solution OUTSIDE your body and dipped your toe into it, you would draw off excess fluid. I can see the sense in doing this. Remember the idea of internal and extra fluid retention? In this case, you are using the identical principle and getting rid of fluid by drawing the fluid OUT of your body. The salt is on the outside and now drawing the excess fluid toward itself. We have a page on how salt intake may be related to your Meniere's disease symptoms.
You may not want to do these treatments without knowing why you are doing them. Sprays are an example of an internal fluid retention. I think you would want your sinuses open and draining as quickly as possible and get that stuff out. Then the sooner they are cleaned, the sooner I think you would feel more comfortable…and you would want to drink loads of water to help this along.
In this example I have walked you through the inflammatory process from cause (irritants) to results (drippy nose) and what happens when you stop this action: this natural action. Let’s take this to another level of thinking. You have this source of irritation in your body (all the debris) and now you take drugs to relieve the pressure, to allow you to breathe. Or even take antibiotics to alleviate the possible resulting infection. You are now adding even more irritants in the form of chemicals.

One of the major components of this inflammatory process or healing process is often an element called histamines. Simply put, these are necessary body responders to help with the workload of special intruders. It is their job to render these intruders less harmful. But what if you are using an antihistamine? That is right: it is a drug to stop the action of histamine, the natural responder.

This drug is something to deaden or reduce the effectiveness of this natural reaction. Or you are prescribed steroids. They are prescribed to soften your body’s natural and immediate healing process…so you won’t feel symptoms as much and to reduce swelling…of the inflammatory process at work!
Now you are dealing with the chemicals from the drugs, the debris of the nonfunctioning filter, (sinus) plus the possible systemic side effects of the antihistamines and the steroids. Is that what you want? Just asking…and hoping to make you think.
I want to give you an over-simplification of allergy shots. Having these, in my mind, is commendable to a point. But I have always questioned the idea.

Let’s say you have an allergy to bees. You would not choose to be a beekeeper, right? (Unless you were quite foolish.) But if you are allergic to tree pollen you would now go for allergy shots of tree pollen. (or give them to yourself.) The idea is to get your body used to the irritant. Why would you want to do that? Your body has already told you it doesn’t like tree pollen.

Let’s look at this a little closer. At the very beginning when you were first exposed to this irritant, your body’s inflammatory process was healthy and it tried to get rid of the irritation (intruder). Either your inflammatory process wasn’t healthy enough to overcome the frequent exposure or other factors “drew on” your inflammatory process and / or immune system.

It became so weak it couldn’t handle any more “work”. But probably you also didn’t like the effects (allergic reaction): the cough, the itchy eyes, the runny nose. These are all signs of an allergy.

So you sought medical attention.  And it came in the form of antihistamines, cough medicines and decongestants, amongst other things. Most of these are meant to quieten your body’s natural desire to heal you. Did you really want to do this result? Maybe not.
Do you wonder what happens to the intruders that should be filtered out by the dried up sinuses and are now allowed to run in your body? I imagine they go wherever they find a place to park. And once again, they irritate that area and the inflammatory process is activated once again. But now, what if this area that they “park in”, doesn’t leave much room for the fluid expansion? In the inner ear for instance?

Remember the example I gave previously involving the balance and hearing nerves? Here I am going to give you another very simplistic example. But it is a reasonable way to see the result. Picture a soft cable of very sensitive phone wires on the ground. Now imagine a momentary heavy load pressing down on it.

I have to think that the result would be a momentary interruption in the messages being sent. Or at least a distortion of these messages being relayed. Now substitute the sensitive phone cables for your inner ear nerves: the balance (vestibular) and the hearing (acoustic) nerves.

Again this heavy load “of whatever” would also cause irregularities or distortions in the messages to be transmitted, which may be triggering a Meniere's disease attack, or some of your symptoms. Would you not be getting anxious to try and find the underlying cause of this inflammatory process at work?
Have you ever asked yourself where this fluid goes once it has done its job, but now contains all the toxins? Once they clean out the inflamed area? That’s where your lymphatic system (this is considered one of the body’s cleaning system) and your circulatory (blood) system come into play.

They remove as any toxins as they can and your body returns to normal. If you suspect that your immune system is a little overloaded or not completely capable of keeping you healthy, is there anything you do about it?


The AMA told us you can help your body by using optimum amounts of a complete and balanced nutritional supplement.


Find yourself such a supplement. They exist. A few companies’ products come pretty close to these recommendations. We also have an article on how to choose a nutritional supplement on the website.


I have given you several examples of the inflammatory process in action. Some of it is a bit controversial as it raises the reasoning of allergy and flu shots. I beg you not to rush you into your doctor’s office and wave this article at them. If you are thinking of taking any action on what you have learned, you must discuss it openly and intelligently with your doctor.


Your body most likely has become used to its routine. Any changes need to be done under medical supervision. But it is possible to make changes. It is possible to review unhealthy conditions. It is possible to think that drugs aren’t the only answer or solution to any and all problems. But it takes courage and determination and more research on your part.
Remember that every chemical going into your body creates a change. That is why you are taking it. So it follows that multiple chemicals will create multiple changes. Know what they are and if they are the changes you really want to have in your body. Some of those changes may be behind some of your Meniere's disease symptoms.


Life is a series of causes and effects. You cut your finger and you bleed. You plant a seed and something grows…hopefully. You get dust in your eye and your eye weeps. Said another way, for every cause there is an effect. If you know that to be case, you can now look for the underlying cause, when you get a result or effect you don’t like.
Ask yourself why you drink or smoke or take any recreational drug? It’s to create a change in your body. The same can be said for eating artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods instead of more healthy things. You already understand how to make changes in many areas not related to your health.


Think of it this way. If you don’t like the balance in your bank account (effect), you have choices to make changes (cause). But you need to pay attention to the “bottom line”. So as we worked through these examples I trust you kept in mind that you may well already have the answers within your environment: either a mental or physical answer. You can choose to do something or not do anything.
Now study and research the concept so it makes more sense to you. Check out all your sources. This process is called “due diligence” and it is something you do naturally for many other parts of your life. Do it here as well.
Near the beginning, in introducing Meniere's Disease and the Inflammatory Process, I said, “You have no warning it will happen, BUT its INTENTION is to PROTECT you.”
You do have a good idea of what your allergies might be, right? So you know that if you are exposed to them, they would give you possible trouble. Now you can put your new knowledge to work. Think as to how you would choose to handle the symptoms.
You have been blessed with abundant common sense. Use it. Ask questions. Think for yourself. Don’t sign away your rights without knowing the consequences and being able to live with those consequences. If you don’t understand the words or the implications of the proposed intervention or treatment, ask. Get clarification. Ask for alternatives.


I am seeing a decided shift in the number of people who choose to take control of their own health. Fewer and fewer people are just blindly doing things without thinking what is going on or what consequences may be waiting for them.
When I worked in a hospital setting, I used to ask people why they did things without knowing what was going to happen to them. Often they would actually sign surgical consent form without having any specific idea what might happen. They had no clue what the terms meant.


Of course they knew generally what their surgery was about, but had no idea as to the specifics. They were told it needed to be done. That doesn’t make much sense. These same people could run the other parts of their lives very well. They just didn’t know they had a choice to make and it was theirs to make.
This all sounds very simplistic, doesn’t it? And it sounds as though I am “anti-drug treatment”. I believe drugs have a very important part to play in anyone’s life. But I urge you to understand how they work and how your own body responds to any intruders. But do this before you take the responsibility of putting this chemical into your body.
Wasn’t your entire goal based on getting help to relieve the unwanted symptoms? Sometimes we don’t really understand that nature has already built in some amazing support. Could you maybe be looking for help in places other than nature had already gifted you?  Guard your immune system and enjoy the protection of your inflammatory process. It has incredible power to keep you healthy!


By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



Additional Resources;


Antioxidants and free radicals are very important terms, but for many of us, they are confusing at the beginning.  So I have written one very simplistic explanation and then have used a very detailed and scientifically-correct tutorial to help you understand the basic concept. If you don't recognize harmful situations, you can't make healthy decisions. It is important for you to have some understanding of these concepts so you can make conscious, informed "everyday" decisions concerning your health, and these should include nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. Ongoing research has found many "things" we felt were safe (and tasty) to ingest, now are found to be harmful. It takes years for degeneration to create negative results in your body. Having the knowledge and the tools to make health-related decisions is crucial.  To explain the role of anti oxidants, we have put together a two part article - A Very Simplistic Explanation of Free Radicals and Anti-Oxidants" & an Antioxidant Tutorial


There are also 3 more articles that may be of interest, What is Meniere's Disease?, Meniere's Disease in Detail and Signs & Symptoms of Meniere's Disease.  These 3 articles will give you a good overview of Meniere's and help you understand how Meniere's Disease symptoms can be connected to the inflammatory process.



If you would like to know more about the system we talk about throughout the site, please use this link to go to the Meniere's Disease System Information page.  We have been able to help many people over the years and we would like the opportunity to share this information with you.

If you have not already signed up for our Meniere's Disease Health Information Newsletter you can learn more about it, or sign up for it, by Clicking Here.


We hope you found the information here helpful.  Thank you for visiting our website.



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