Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meniere's Disease and alcohol

I have never been much of a drinker and I guess it is just as well since I have Meniere’s disease. I can’t imagine anyone continuing to drink after suffering with this condition. Although I haven’t seen any warnings about not drinking but it makes sense doesn’t it? There are so many things that can trigger an attack; alcohol would definitely be on that list. If caffeine can set you into orbit then alcohol with all the things that it does certainly can’t be good.

But one thing is for certain taking valium and alcohol has always been a no-no and valium is one of the most popular drugs to help with meniere’s. So I am pretty sure that the other medications for meniere’s don’t mix well with alcohol.

Another reason is how the ethyl alcohol in booze is absorbed through the blood and then travels into cell membranes. The alcohol somehow helps to release salts and minerals from the cell membranes. This in turn can be bad if the cell membrane is in the inner ear. I have read a lot about Meniere’s disease but this is new to me. I take everything that I read on the internet with a grain of salt. (Excuse the pun)

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20 comments:

  1. I've never been much of a drinker but I do enjoy proper coffee. I've reduced my intake to one cup in the morning (and no other caffeine from tea or soft drinks) but I don't want to go to zero. That's partly because I enjoy it so much, and partly because I feel that it actually helps to get my head straight - shower, breakfast and coffee each seem to help me feel a little better.

    I've only had two bad experiences with coffee and Meniere's. One was when I got into the habit of drinking one really big, really strong cup each morning; I had the feeling that it was encouraging the disease, probably because it was harder to feel calm and relaxed. After that I changed down to a smaller coffee pot! The other was when I tried a double cup as an experiment to see if it would jolt my head straight, but it didn't and I felt spaced most of the day.

    The way that I see it, lowering your coffee, alcohol or salt intake is definitely beneficial; even if your Meniere's doesn't change it's good for your general health.

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  2. David, this is a very good point. Although some doctors tell Meniere's patients not to drink, other don't say anything. In fact I had one so called "meniere's specialist" tell me it was perfectly ok to drink.

    I know from my own experience and that of hundreds of others that I have come in contact with working with our support group that alcohol can be a huge factor, and a definite trigger in most people with meniere's disease.

    I know that alcohol (in large doses) is toxic to the inner ear. But didn't know about the ethyl........interesting.....

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  3. I think I would err on the side of caution and not drink.
    thanks for the comment

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  4. I think the reason that I quit drinking is because the feelingof getting even a little drunk is so similar to the feeling of an attack, on a much smaller scale, that I can't imagine wanting that to occur. I want to be as far away from that feeling as possible. Also, alcohol does not mix well with diazide or other diuretics I have heard.

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  5. Hi guys. I'm a bilateral Meniere's sufferer and I still drink. Drinking does not effect the balance side of my Meniere's but play's merry hell with the tinnitus. If I just have a couple of drinks it's no problem but if I have a bit of a do then I have to live with not being able to hear for a couple of days.
    I might just be lucky on this count though.

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    1. I have unilateral and am the same way. I just stick to a couple good quality beers. Sometimes red wine. I also have to have coffee in the morning. Salt bothers me the most. I know a man who has the opposite problem. He doesn't have to follow a low sodium diet.

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  6. I think that you have been lucky. Just be careful especially if you are taking any medications because they don't mix with alcohol.
    thanks for the comment
    David

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  7. I had never heard of Menieres before ten years ago when I had my first attack. I hadn't drank any alcohol for 16 years before but on this night we (my hubby and I) drank some beer. The next morning, I felt like I was spinning on a merry go round and this went on for two or three days until, finally, I had to go to the doctor or I thought I'd die. The doctor tested me and said that I had Meniere's in both ears (he said this is not often the case?) but worse in my left ear than my right. He asked me if I'd been hit in the head (I hadn't) any quick head movements (there weren't any) but he never mentioned alcohol so I didn't make a connection. The main symptoms went away fairly quickly and since then I've only had fullness, mild tinnitus (rarely) and very slight dizzy spells which were quick and brief (feels like I'm on an elevator when it takes off or stops); which I can live with. So I'd say I was in remission. However, recently I joined my hubby with a beer or two in the evening a few nights in a row this past week and found that the main symptom of spinning has come back ALMOST to the degree of that first bout. I have to say now that I'm convinced that it was the alcohol (or beer) which caused the first attack and is now causing it again. I am not on any medications at all and it's just too coincidental that it continues to occur only after consuming alcohol. I only hope this bout will clear up on it's own. I have no health insurance this time...

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  8. Although alcohol doesn't CAUSE Meniere's, it clearly exacerbates the symptoms that go with it, in varying degrees from one patient to the next. I find that if I drink more than a glass of wine or a single beer, it makes me pretty miserable, so I exercise very strict restraints in my drinking now. Fortunately, I was never really much into alcohol, so it's not a big loss compared with the possible benefits of not overdoing it.

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  9. Another thing to remember is that alcohol is a depressant that will eventually make you feel worse than before you started drinking.

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  10. I'm an alcoholic and would have a tough time quiting my drinking. I've just discovered that when I drink excessively, I have attacks. I guess I'll have to at least nearly quit drinking. The enjoyment I get is not worth the misery of the meniere's attacks. Meniere's is pretty new to me. I'm just learning how it works with me, but I just became convinced that alcohol is a major trigger.

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  11. Hi Dave,
    I imagine that it would be difficult to quit but it would be worth it on many levels including meniere's.
    thanks for the comment and stay in touch
    David

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  12. Hello All
    I am from Ireland and have menieres . I can drink beer no problem with menieres in fact I would say in my case if I am a little drunk it helps the menieres. however the days after drinking alcohol are very bad with menieres and I have a constant feeling of been of balance for at least 5 days.

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  13. Hi,
    I would certainly be careful with alcohol because it usually doesn't mix well with Meniere's.
    thanks for the comment and stay in touch
    David

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  14. What kind of alcohol that you cannot drink when you have meniere? I was drank little bit of vodka mix with orange juice and i don't feel drunk or dizzy, but i do have headaches really bad.

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  15. I haven't been officially diagnosed with Meniere's (just the doctor saying, "You probably have Meniere's. Read up on it and here's a diuretic to help."), but I do suffer from the most common symptoms and meds definitely help keep them at bay. I've never been much of a drinker, but from the beginning, I've gotten violently sick from alcohol in larger quantities (more than 2 servings). It always makes me feel like I've got a really bad hangover and sea sickness combined--definitely for at least the following 24 hours, sometimes longer. I've learned to keep my alcohol limited to half a glass to one glass, and only on special occasions. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. Thanks for writing about this.

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  16. I have just been diagnosed with Meniere's and still having trouble driving. I feel dizzy all the time. I have just started the meds but have had symptoms since june. How long will this last before I start to feel normal?

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    1. Took me about 2 yrs to learn all triggers and avoidance. Now not so bad. Follow low salt diet. Ask doctor- for me I stay around 1500mg sodium/day. you may need to avoid MSG, preservatives and artificial sweeteners- sucralose all the time and caffeine and alcohol until you are doing better. And motions ride in front seat of car if you are passenger.

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  17. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say how long your symptoms will last or whether the medications will help. Meniere's is a terrible problem, simply because it is totally unpredictable. Every patient's story is different from most others.

    What medications are you taking, Anonymous? Be careful when you are driving; make sure not to turn your head very quickly, as it can make you more dizzy than anything else. Also, try to learn to recognize your symptoms before an attack so you can pull over if you need to.

    Be safe.

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  18. Yes, be careful, the Diuretics can cause dizziness. Even when you are exposed to sunlight- even artificial sunlight for extended periods of time!

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