Meniere’s Disease and the
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
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
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
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
It is the tissue reaction of the injury, direct or
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;
- The skin
- 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,
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
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
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).
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,
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.
intruder still sits in there, possibly leading to another Meniere's disease
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
yourself such a supplement. They exist. A few companies’ products come
pretty close to these recommendations. We also have an article on
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
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
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
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,
is Meniere's Disease?,
Meniere's Disease in
& 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
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
We hope you found the information here helpful. Thank you for visiting our