Could this be MAV?

Hi all, I had a spell a couple nights ago, don’t really know what caused it but I’m looking for some input. I plan on seeing a doctor, but I live in a rural area, and have had back luck before…they always tell me that I have an ear infection and to take sudafed! I try explaining that I just know that it’s not an ear infection, but they don’t want to hear it.

I am 30 years old, my story started when I was 16 yrs old when I was at basketball practice. All of a sudden, I felt a pressure in my ear, heard a very loud ringing, and the gym just started to spin around me. I was soon puking like it was nobody business. I got home by laying down in the back of my parent’s station wagon and I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of days. Once I got to the doctor, I was told it was either an ear infection, a brain stem tumor, or meniere’s disease. He did some tests to rule out the brain tumor (thank god) and I was told I wouldn’t really know if I had Meniere’s disease or not unless I had another episode sometime down the road. This was late 1994 when this happened… I saw a family doctor and an ENT.

Note: ever since that incident I have had constant tinnitus and the loss of the majority of hearing in my left year. I don’t have a history of ear infections, never had, but I do have cold / sinus issues. I get motion sickness easily, especially while flying, and I can’t ride roller coasters or carnival rides.

Well for the next 10+ years I never had any more spells or symptoms. The tinnitus and hearing issue remains.

In January 2008, after a very stressful day at work, I had a major bout of dizziness/ vertigo. It knocked me off my feet and I was very nauseous. All I wanted to do was sleep, not only because of the dizziness, i was just wiped! The day after the spell I went to a walk-in doctor who gave me some meclizine to function, and I followed up with a family doctor. Both refused to acknowledge possible meniere’s at all, even when I told them about my incident years ago and said I probably just had an ear infection. I was told to take sudafed. There was no talk of a referral or anything.

Now I carry the meclizine with me at all times. I had to take it for a few days after that spell last January, but not since then…until this past Friday.

I was pulling into my driveway, turning off my car, and the dizziness hit me like a ton of bricks. I got myself in the house and to my stash of meclizine, and the first one didn’t do a thing. I took another and got myself into bed and slept for about 12 hours. I still felt a little fuzzy when I woke up, took another meclizine , laid around, then took and nap and was felling better by evening. I should note that Friday was again a very bad, stressful day at work, the worst day I had since last January…I was very worked up.

Does this sound like it could be MAV? I am just trying to gather some information for when I go to the doctor. I have to have a plan and an angle, otherwise they will just shove me off.

Your symptoms certainly COULD be MAV. I had similar bouts periodically for 5-6 years. I was diagnosed with BPPV initially and told to live with it. One year ago I had what I initially thought was just another bout, but this time it didn’t go away and I had additional symptoms that I hadn’t had before. My GP preliminarily diagnosed Meniere’s and sent me to an ENT. After a few months of numerous tests and doctor’s visits, a neurologist diagnosed Migraine. So, from your description, I would say MAV, Meniere’s, BPPV, or some other ailment are all possibilities. Only a knowledgable specialist will be able to properly diagnose you, but MAV is definitely a possibility.

By the way, Meclizine helped me with nausea when the vertigo was severe last year, but it sure knocked me out! Sounds like you had a similar experience. Make sure you have the time to rest after you take it.

Good luck!

From what you describe, it “could” possilbly be meiere’s. The vertigo you describe, the sudden onset of a such a severe attack, and the long term hearing loss/tinnitus all point towards meniere’s.

Do you or anyone in your family have a history of headaches or migraines, or motion sickness? Have you had problems with certain positions of your head making you dizzy? Stiff neck and or shoulders?

With out further information, it is hard to say. But from the little bit that you describe, I would lean more towards meniere’s. You may want to see an ENT doctor if you haven’t already.

NO history of headaches or migraines or motion sickness in the family.
The dizziness is not related to certain positions of my head at all. And I don’t have any stiffness in head / shoulders.

I will make an appt w/ an ENT here in town, but am dreading not being taken seriously.

I was also thinking meniere’s, especially since that’s what was put in my head years ago when I had the first spell. But the fact that I went without incident for so-long was making me wonder.

The severity of your first spell, the way the tinnitus came on with the vertigo, and the hearing loss all sound a lot like Meniere’s disease to me. With the two episodes you had earlier this year, did you notice an increase in tinnitus or a decrease in hearing in the left ear? If so, I would just about bet you’ll ultimately be diagnosed with Meniere’s. I’m suprised the doctors are reluctant to go that direction as you have the four “halmark” symptoms (vertigo, tinnitus, fullness and hearing loss). The one thing that may not fit well is the length of time between the presenting episode and subsequent attacks. Then again, there is alot of variability in Meniere’s disease.

When this first started for me I was terrified that it would turn out to be Meneire’s. Now I actually think Meniere’s might be better than MAV (or whatever I’ve got). If Meniere’s is unilateral (ie one ear) there are a couple of different surgical techniques that will pretty reliably eliminate the dizziness (Trans-tympanic Gentamyacin Injections and Vestibular Nerve Section). While neither of these options sound like much fun, people seem to do pretty well with them.

Chaz