Signs & Symptoms of
Meniere's Disease - Vertigo (or Vertigo Disease)
Vertigo, or vertigo disease, as some people are told, is
an abnormal sensation that causes you to feel as though you or your
environment is moving or spinning. It is a feeling that shows up when the
balance nerve is “impacted’ or alerted to a problem. People describe
dizziness and vertigo as two totally different sensations but they are both
primary symptoms of Meniere's disease.
Whereas dizziness is a sensation that seems to come from the inside of you,
vertigo seems to “come” from an external source or force. There is an actual
physical sensation of you “moving or spinning”. People feel the car they are
driving or riding in, is rotating wildly or spinning around them. Of course,
they have no way to stop that. Dizziness is more of an internal feeling that
you can’t get away from the spinning inside of your head. These distinctions
are noted by your doctor and are valuable to remember.
Vertigo, often the most debilitating symptom of Meniere's disease, forces
the sufferer to lie down or if they can't get to a bed in time, crawl along
the floor, even up the stairs. Sometimes the attack is so powerful that the
person falls to the ground "as a bag of sand". These attacks can be
accompanied by severe nausea, vomiting, and sweating. It is very important
to remember that all of these symptoms are unpredictable. That leads to the
person living the life of a recluse because they can never plan on a "good
Typically, the episode can include a combination of vertigo, drop attack,
tinnitus, and hearing loss lasting minutes or several hours.
We are all different: therefore our feelings and descriptions can vary.
Discomfort comes in varying intensities and durations. Some people with
Meniere's disease may experience a
sudden onset of an attack that can last for hours. Others have brief or even
momentary periods of vertigo.
An episode might come a few times a week, or a
month. Some suffer once or twice a year. Some are totally unable to move.
Someone may only have a slight vertigo or temporarily loss of balance. Still
others feel unsteady all day long for long periods. For most people the
immediate outcome of any of these episodes is total exhaustion and the need
to sleep for hours.
Here are a few (unedited) comments from readers:
“I suffer from clusters of attacks, mostly vertigo. I have had three drop
“When I have an attack of vertigo, I always get a
bad headache and sinus
congestion beforehand (1 day to 2 weeks before) 24 hrs a day. “recently been
diagnosed with vertigo and tinnitus -consultant says he just has to live
“I was recently diagnosed with Meniere's disease and up until recently only
had issues with hearing out of my left ear and tinnitus. Now I am starting
to experience vertigo and am getting very concerned that if this gets worse
I will not be able to work or drive.”
Vertigo of any type occurs when there is a problem in the vestibular
labyrinth (semicircular canals), the portion of the inner ear that controls
balance. (Don’t you immediately ask yourself “why”?) This causes the loss or
a change of your balance. It is this sudden loss of balance, which often
forces the person to fall to the ground. Often it is a sensation of being
knocked around, especially the head.
Many injuries occur because the people have no warning to protect themselves
or break their fall. They are often seen as staggering. If someone is
driving, their head might be suddenly flung to the side or shaken, ending up
with the person being completely disorientated.
To the Meniere's disease sufferer this is a very difficult condition to deal with. They can be
totally debilitated for varying lengths of time. But what is even worse is
they can't plan ahead. They will have no idea when an attack might occur. It
could be in the grocery store with its bright lights and long aisles. Or it
could be on the road with the scenery rushing by.
It's so unpredictable and
the results are so devastating! We have heard many instances of people being
“knocked down” in a doctor’s office, in emergency departments, or being
forced to lie down in grocery stores. As you can see, these attacks can
For the family members, this is also a very hard condition. It's most
difficult to understand why this person can't go somewhere with them. They
LOOK all right, until they witness a drop attack! So again everyone feels
defensive and very frightened. It requires a lot of patience and
understanding to cope with vertigo or vertigo disease.
As you read this, do you not get a sense of frustration that no one seems to
know what to do? To get past these debilitating episodes?. To discover the
cause of vertigo? There is a recurring theme throughout this website. It is
this. Absolutely nothing happens in our bodies without a cause.
happens by chance. So what can you do to get some answers? You would
certainly have gone to your doctor already with these symptoms. But you also
need to do your own “thinking”. If you know that nothing happens without a
cause, then how can you figure out the next step, apart from going through
regular medical channels? You do need to do that. You need to eliminate any
other possible problems. Unfortunately you do need to do the scans and other
But in the meantime, you can also use a very basic science method. The cause
always “happens” before a Meniere's disease symptom shows up. So it would make sense to really
go over what you did during the previous 24 hours.
You might want to get a
copy of our observations on Meniere's disease. Many people have shared with us what had caused
their symptoms. We call this email document our “Observations” and offer it
to anyone who requests it.
Vertigo is challenging for the sufferer and his family. It is well
worthwhile to try and find the cause in spite of the frequent and really sad
prognosis of “there is no cure: you have to live with this”. Everything has
a cause: it may be well hidden and yet undiscovered, but it has to be
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
If you would like a copy of the system we
talk about throughout the site,
please use this link to go to the Meniere's
Disease System Information page.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website.