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Vertigo: Labyrinthitis or Meniere's
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Vertigo: Labyrinthitis or Meniere's

Tuesday night I was taken to the hospital via EMS due to a violent case of vertigo, nausea, and rapid heart rate. These attacks happened in waves and lasted around an hour or so. The ER gave me sugar water and saline then ran a bunch of tests. All my blood work and EKG came back normal.  I was discharged after four hours in the ER.

It’s been two days and I still have a generally disoriented feeling along with very mild fatigue. I went to see my primary care physician and a neurologist who diagnosed me with Labyrinthitis. I am still concerned that it could be something more severe like Meniere’s. The doctor said because I have no hearing loss, or tinnitus that he could rule this out. I explained that I do not remember any ringing but wasn’t sure. He mentioned that if I had tinnitus, due to Meniere’s, I’d remember it. He said the ringing would be very pronounced. The attack came in waves and inbetween them I was able to seek advice from my mom (a nurse) on the phone, as well as talk to a professor (who escorted me to security), the security guards, EMS, and the ER staff. I remember hearing them fine and being responsive enough to answer their questions and talk with them. The doctor said this was evidence it was Labyrinthitis and not Meniere’s. He further checked my ears and said they looked perfect. When he tested my eye's he said they were perfect as well.

My questions are: 1) Does his diagnosis of Labyrinthitis, and not Meneire’s seem correct? Given my great hearing now and not “remembering” any ringing or hearing problems. 2) I have to fly to California (from NYC) in a week-the doctor said because it is an inner ear problem that air travel will not be an issue. Does this seem correct? Again, I am more worried that this is something severe like Meniere’s (which would ruin my military deployment that is upcoming).  Also, about a month ago I had a routine hearing check and it was perfect. Of course this was a month and a half before Tuesday's attack. Thank you so much!
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5 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Understand your predicament.

But if you have Meniere’s disease, you would still have persisting tinnitus and maybe hearing loss. In the absence of which Labyrinthitis goes more with your symptoms. Since air travel, usually causes atmospheric pressure changes, this is usually reflected in the middle ear. As there are tubes called 'Eustachian  tubes' which connect the middle ear to the throat, this balances the air pressure in the ears. Hence your doctor has advised that it is safe to travel, as it is an inner ear problem.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for the reply. Since posting this on the 29th of March, I've had a whole host of new symptoms. About 3-4 days after the attack I started noticing ear fullness, tinnitus (only when it is ultra quiet), and a popping/crackling sensation in my ears. The doc put me on a Z-pack thinking it was sinus related as I did have a yellowish-green thick mucus discharge from the nose. That did help with my sinuses but the ear fullness and popping/cracking has persisted. The doc then put me on sudafed and medrol to help. There has been some easing as the fullness is not present nearly as much (only in the morning). However, the crackling and tinnitus remain throughout the day. They still believe it is something unrelated to Meniere’s because my ear problems happened days after.

I still have some minor disorientation and have had two very minor dizzy spells lasting a few seconds, but no more vertigo like I had the first time. It has been almost 3 weeks and although I feel much better than the first week, I still have something going on. Any additional thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you again.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, one more thing....I'm also getting ear ache pain and a pulling sensation from time to time. Definitely something going on in there and interested in how I should further talk to my docs about this...thanks in advance.
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973741_tn?1342346373
I would look into eustacian tube dysfunction.  I had the symptoms you describe and was on the road to a meneire's diagnosis when we worked on my eustacian tube.  I will say that my tinnitis was very pronounced and to the point of making you feel like you can think of nothing but the buzzing in your head.  

I did reverse ear pops as a simple thing you could try.  My ENT has his patients do this and for me, it really helped.  You hold your nose and blow.  It will pop your ears.  Then I felt like I was on a plane and would open and shut my mouth until it felt better.  I did this over and over for a couple of weeks (well, several times a day).  Very helpful.  

Wishing you lots of luck.  I was so happy to NOT have menieres and just eustacian tube dysfunction.  Peace and luck
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1268057_tn?1399131913
I would recommend consulting an ENT Specialist, having vestibular testing done and repeating the hearing test.  

Definitely sounds like something inner ear going on; what exactly I am not sure.  

Inner ear disorders overlap with symptoms and can be very difficult to precisely diagnose.  I went through this same "merry-go-round" you did.  Two physicians stated I have Meniere's and one physician stated I had Unresolved Labyrinthitis.  Ended up being UL (Unresolved Labyrinthitis).  To add....Meniere's is not fully understood and difficult to treat.  

I would get this sorted out BEFORE flying anywhere as this could be an eustachian tube issue.  Eustachian tube issues CAN affect your inner ear.
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