Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ménière’s Disease: Is Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) & Herpes the Cause?

This is my personal theory. © Beatrice T, AUSTRALIA. 2010

2011 marks the 150th year since the French physician, Prosper Ménière, first reported in 1861 that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders. Since then the medical community has learnt little about the cause, treatment or potential cures for this disease. As a lay person impacted with Ménière’s Disease I have observed my own symptoms, triggers & treatments, and learnt as much as I can from public literature and the personal stories of others.

After a number of years of research I have come to the conclusion that the most likely cause of Ménière’s Disease is an inner ear herpes triggered through the Psychoneuroimmune (PNI) route. Simply put, long-term exposure to psychological stress negatively alters the immune system, triggering a latent herpes virus to attack the inner ear. This virus causes inflammation which reduces circulation of the inner ear fluids which in turn affect hearing & balance. Periods of remission are due to the herpes virus becoming dormant.

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease in Nov 2007, but experienced unilateral hearing loss for three months in early 2004. After my MRI came back negative for an acoustic neuroma, I wondered whether the hearing loss had been caused by stress. I had heard about the motivational author Louise Hay who theorised that negative thoughts could negatively impact the body, causing or contributing to the manifestation of illness.

At the time I found myself hearing a lot of my friend’s troubles (their marital problems, dissatisfaction with their workplace, their health concerns, etc) which added to my own life stressors. So I politely informed my friends that, as much as I loved them, I didn’t want hear any more bad news or criticism of any kind. My friends complied and I made an effort not to worry or be critical, and within three weeks my hearing had completely recovered.

I didn’t have any further issues with my ear until Nov 2007, after a very stressful year (particularly in the last few months) due to business, relationship and family issues. Since being diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease I have followed the advice of my GP, ENT & that of the medical establishment, which has brought me some comfort but no real solution or Ménière management plan.

In 2009 I came across a posting by “John of Ohio” a biologist whose hypothesis is that Ménière’s Disease is caused by herpes of the inner ear. According to him, “European studies, and now American ones too, have shown an almost universal presence of various herpes viruses in post-mortem examinations of the inner ear of Ménière’s Disease sufferers.” John of Ohio Ménière’s Regimen (established in 2004) is based on a variety of vitamins & mineral supplements, as well as herbal & homeopathic medications. Learn more about this regimen on the below link.

The link between Ménière’s Disease and herpes was tested in a number of studies including one that tested the antiviral Acyclovir (aka Zovirax) on Ménière patients. ("Effectiveness of Acyclovir on Meniere's Syndrome III Observation of Clinical Symptoms in 301 cases," Mitsuo Shichinohe, M.D., Ph.D., The Sapporo Medical Journal, Vol. 68, No. 4-6, December, 1999)

In this study, patients were each “treated with 2,000 mg/day of acyclovir for an average period of two weeks. There were 250 patients who were ultimately evaluated.  In 82.5% of cases diagnosed as Meniere's Disease, 85% of cases diagnosed as Meniere's Syndrome (symptoms of Meniere's Disease but other basic diseases could not be completely excluded), and 89.1% of cases diagnosed as vestibular dysfunction, vertigo disappeared, and tinnitus and hearing were improved.  No side effects were observed.”

It was concluded that, “while a viral etiology (cause) of Meniere's Disease has not been positively established, there are researchers who suspect, even in the absence of persuasive evidence, that a virus, and particularly the herpes simplex virus (HSV), *may* be a factor in *some* cases diagnosed as Meniere's Disease.”   More info: 
Meniere Treatment


It is well documented that certain personality types are more prone to stress. One study looked at the stress of medical students. (“Personality traits and types predict medical school stress: a six-year longitudinal and nationwide study.” Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.)   
Personality traits and types predict medical school stress

In this study, “the traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness were independent predictors of stress.” ‘Brooders’ (those with low extroversion, high neuroticism and high conscientiousness) were “at risk of experiencing more stress, whereas 'hedonists' (those with high extroversion, low neuroticism, low conscientiousness) were more protected against stress”. Furthermore those with “high neuroticism and high conscientiousness” were considered to be particularly high risk.

Other studies have established that there is also a cancer-prone personality, which is described by Robert M. Sapolsky as “one of repression – emotions held inside, particularly those of anger. This is a picture of an introverted, respectful individual with a strong desire to please – conforming and compliant.”

The Psychoneuroimmune Route is discussed in the book ‘Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers’ by Robert M. Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museum of Kenya.

In his book Robert states that, “evidence is pouring in from many quarters suggests that stress may indeed impair our immune systems and increase the risk of illness”. He outlines the Psychoneuroimmune Route as thus:

  1. The individuals in question have been stressed
(Stress differs tremendously among people. What is stressful to one individual may not be to another. Significant universal stressors included: the death of a loved one, divorce, financially threatening unemployment. Engaging in battle or even a significant car accident would fit the bill.)

  1. Stress causes the stress-response (the secretion of glucocorticoids, epinephrine, and so on)
  2. The duration and magnitude of the stress-response in these individuals is big enough to suppress immune function
  3. The suppressed immune function increases the odds of these individuals getting some infectious disease, and impairs their ability to defend themselves against that disease once they have it.

According to Robert M. Sapolsky’s book (chapter 13) the following are the building blocks of psychological stressors:

1.       Lack of Outlets for Frustration
2.       Lack of Social Support
3.       Lack of Predictability (there are some exceptions to this)
4.       Lack of Control (there are some exceptions to this)
5.       A Perception of Things Getting Worse

As anyone with Ménière’s Disease could attest, most of the above stressors provide momentum to the Ménière’s Disease pathology. The disease creates an environment where there is little control or predictability which impacts on social activities adding to the perception of things getting worse. Outlets for frustration also become fewer (i.e. alcohol avoidance or participating in activities).

A latent virus is one that burrows into some cells and goes into hibernation for a while, lurking near the cellular DNA, but not yet replicating itself. Robert states, “At some later point, something triggers the dormant virus out of latency and it reactivates. After going through a couple of rounds of replication the by now larger number of viral particles burrow in and go latent again.” Herpes viruses are can go latent for years, even decades before flaring up again.

Herpes viruses can interact with the immune system in two very cunning ways.

  1. Herpes viruses know when your immune system is low.
Herpes viruses measure your glucocorticoids levels. According to Robert, “Herpes DNA contains a stretch that is sensitive to elevated glucocorticoids signals, and when levels are up, that DNA sensor activates the genes involved in coming out of latency”.

The viruses wait until the immune is run down, then they quickly replicate a few times. Robert states, “It’s been endlessly documented that latent viruses like herpes flare up during times of physical or psychological stress.” This includes Epstein-Barr virus and varicella-zoster (which causes chicken pox and shingles).

  1. Herpes viruses can artificially trigger the stress-response.
Herpes viruses cause your hypothalamus to release Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) which releases Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) which raises glucocorticoids levels. So a person doesn’t even need to be stressed because it artificially triggers the stress-response (step 2 of the Psychoneuroimmune Route). What’s more, elevated glucocorticoids levels (step 3) impair your immune defences against activated herpes, this leads to a flare up (step 4).

Robert also discusses the Lifestyle Route which involves things like carcinogenic substances (alcohol, smoking), epidemics, sneezing on others, diet (inc: skipping breakfast habitually), lack of sleep, hypertension, obesity, and lack of physical activity… among other things.

Lack of social support and social isolation are particularly damaging. According to Robert data shows that, “the fewer social relationships a person has, the shorter his or her life expectancy, and the worse the impact of various infectious diseases”. Positive social relationships include: marriage, contact with friends and extended family, church membership, or other group affiliations. Robert states that, “for the same illness, people with the fewest social connections have approximately two-and-a-half times as much chance of dying as those with the most connections” (after controlling for variables).

It is likely that the catalyst for Ménière’s Disease is chronic psychological stress (1) which causes the stress-response (2), suppressing immune function (3) that activates the latent herpes virus (4) which inflames the inner ear’s tissues (5) causing problems with fluid circulation and drainage (6).

Rupturing of the inner ear membrane can provoke an attack as can ongoing damage & displacement of the crystals in the fluid. Both affect the ability of the brain to accurately process information from the three sensors of balance (the vestibular, the eyes & the sense of proprioception). Conflicting information causes the brain to temporarily “crash” (much like a computer). Acute attacks can stimulate the autonomic nervous system leading to shortness of breath, and sudden changes in body temperature.

In my opinion, Ménière’s Disease management should address all of the above stages with an emphasis on reducing psychological stress, improving immune function and combating herpes viruses. This should encompass lifestyle changes as well as orthodox medicines & complementary therapies.


  1. Where was this study:

    "Herpes viruses can artificially trigger the stress-response. Herpes viruses cause your hypothalamus to release Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) which releases drenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) which raises glucocorticoids levels."


    1. Hi Anonymous, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      The study that suggests that HERPES STIMULATES GLUCOCORTICOID SECRETION is that of Bonneau, R., Sheridan, J., Feng, N., Glaser, R., “Stress-induced modulation of the primary cellular immune response to HSV infection is mediated by both adrenal-dependent and independent mechanisms,” Journal of Neuroimmunology 42 (1993): 167.

      This study was referenced in Robert M. Sapolsky’s excellent book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers’ (Chapter 8: “Latent Viruses” pages 169-171)

      Other studies referenced in this chapter are:

      REACTIVATION OF LATENT VIRUSES BY STRESS OR GLUCOCORTICORDS: Padgett, D., Sheridan, J., Dorne., Berntson, G., Candelora, J. Glaser, R., “Social stress and the reactivation of latent herpes simplex virus type,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 95 (1998): 7231; Padgett, D., Sheridan, J., “Herpesviruses,” in Fink, G., ed., Encyclopaedia of Stress, vol.2, 357; Glaser, R., Friedman, S., Smyth, J., Ader, R., Bijur, P., Brunell, P., Cohen, N., Krilov, L., Lifrak, S., Stone, A., “The different impact of training stress and final examination stress on herpesvirus latency at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” Brain, Behaviour and Immunity 13 (1999): 240; Hudnall, S., Rady, P.,Tyring, S., Fish, J., “Hydrocortisone activation of human herpesvirus 8 viral DNA replication and gene expression in vitro,” Transplantaion 67 (1999): 648.

      LATENT VIRUSES REACTIVATE BY MEASURING GLUCOCORTICOID LEVELS: Hardwicke, M., Schaffer, P., “Differential effects of NGF and dexamethasone on herpes simplex virus type 1 oriL- and oriS-dependent DNA replication in PC12 cells,” Journal of Virology 71 (1997): 3580.

      I hope that this information is helpful to you.

      Cheers, Beatrice :-)

  2. Beatrice

    Do you know of any current studies that have taken place in 2011 or 2012 that shows the results of the herpes theory being linked to Ménières Disease?

    1. Hi Syed Zafra,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Good question BTW. So good that I have created a whole page to discuss it further.

      There are currently 47 studies on PubMed dating back to 1952 which discuss Meniere’s Disease and herpes viruses. The most recent studies are from 2008.

      I also looked through the Prosper Meniere Society website. According to their website, the society’s primary goal is “to promote the academic dissemination and discussion of clinical research data on Ménière’s disease and all aspects of inner ear dysfunction, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment.” Yet when I looked through the 31 abstracts listed on their website for 2012, none of them discuss herpes viruses.

      I was surprised by this, because many of the PubMed studies mentioned above show a link &/or suggest further research.

      I’d like to think that a society which bears the name of “our” disease would take note of past studies and the many anecdotal comments of Meniere sufferers who are find benefit in incorporating herpes antiviral strategies (i.e. L-Lysine & acyclovir) into their health regimens. It warrants serious consideration by the medical community, particularly those that represent us. Perhaps the society is undertaking research this year? One can only hope.

      For more about Meniere’s Disease and herpes viruses, I have set up a page on my blog, Ménières & HERPES, which lists just some of these studies. More info can be found at:

      I hope that this information has been helpful.

      Cheers, Beatrice:-)

  3. Hello Beatrice,

    I have Menieres and like you I also believe that the cause is an virus.

    I got Trigeminasneuralgia at the same time; is there a connection do you think?
    Can't be a coincedence I fugure. Can Trigeminasneuralgia be caused by a virus as well?

    I was wondering if the L-lysine and other antivirals didn't work for you before starting on the dexamethason-injections?

    Thank you for your website and answer,


    1. Hi Alice,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I haven’t heard of Trigeminasneuralgia. I just did a quick internet search and according to PubMed Trigeminal neuralgia is “a nerve disorder that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face”. Sounds painful.

      I’m not medically trained so I’m not in a position to give advice on things I have no experience with. That said, PubMed suggests Trigeminal neuralgia might be caused by Multiple Sclerosis which is interesting because Multiple Sclerosis is one of about eighty or so autoimmune diseases. In addition to having Meniere’s Disease I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmunity of the thyroid gland). Apparently if you have one autoimmune disease you are more likely to develop another. This brings me back to my core theory that Meniere’s Disease is manifested via the Psychoneuroimmunological route, which I think makes a lot of sense.

      Also of note, the symptoms of Trigeminal neuralgia sound a lot like Shingles which is Herpes Zoster. I had Shingles on my arm many years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life, and as we know Herpes Viruses love stress.

      With regard to your comment about “L-Lysine & antivirals not working before Dexamethasone”, well it’s difficult to quantify that they didn’t work. I think it all helps and if somebody had told me about L-Lysine & antivirals (i.e. the medical community) earlier then perhaps my Meniere’s would have halted.

      I can’t say that I have found an outright cure to Menieres. It would be great just to have an injection and “voilà, you’re fixed”. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It’s taken me eight years to get my head around what I think is going on with my health and in that time a bit of damage has been done. It’s hard to stop a train that has left the station (so to speak). It takes time to pull on the breaks and get it back to the station… if you know what I mean.

      All I can say Alice, is that nobody knows your body like you do. Quieten your mind, listen to your body and give it what it needs. I think the body wants to heal itself. So be kind to yourself and seek out JOY every day.

      Thank you for your comment about my website. That’s why I set it up; to shine some positivity on a not very nice disease and to help people like yourself.

      Beatrice :-)

  4. Beatrice,

    Thank You so much for this site and all of your hard work and research on this disease. I have had MD for 2 1/2 years. My world has done a 180 turn. I always thought I would be strong enough to handle a chronic disease of whatever type, but MD has blown me away. I don't have to elaborate on HOW.. anyone reading this KNOWS.
    I will continue to read this site for more up to date info as it emerges. I find it very supportive and you are well informed. I too, after many many hours of internet research believe that MD's root beginning may lie with the Herpes Virus.

    TO TIM (above post)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Can you reference that Menieres conference that your MD at the Balance center went to for the information he got. I would love to track that down and read up on it.
    more later,



    1. Hi Laura,

      Thanks for commenting and for the positive feedback.

      You’re absolutely right that Meniere’s disease greatly impacts the lives of those that have it. Unlike some other chronic illnesses, it’s hard for someone who doesn’t have MD to understand what it might be like, because to the outside world we look pretty normal.
      Even if someone without MD were to view a person having a mild or acute vertigo attack, they still probably wouldn’t understand how debilitating it feels for the sufferer.

      I hope that some of the information in this blog gives you relief from your symptoms. Stay positive Laura.

      All the best,

      Beatrice :-)

  5. Hi Beatrice,

    I think you've nailed it and I found your research fascinating (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers is in the mail.) I am 30 and I just got through my first serious episode of Meniere's disease. Since I was a kid as long as I can remember I've had herpes simplex cold sores on my lip and inside my nose, at least once a year.

    A few months ago, starting in August, I had what was probably the most stressful period of my life. I led a team of people at work and I knew things weren't going well for the company. I was totally isolated, the team hated me, one of them literally told me I was a "stressor" for them. I stressed about everything, I had to fire someone which causes me a tremendous amount of stress, and at the end of the entire team was laid off including myself. Right before I was laid off a massive cold sore broke out on my lip. I frantically searched for a new job because I had no money to pay the bills (I'm sure any working spouse could agree that this is the worst of all stress), 2-weeks later I took the first opportunity which turned out to be a hell job, a hell boss, I thought at the time that it was doing a terrible number on my head. Ultimately I went back to a place I used to work, where I found refuge, told the boss "I just want to be one of the guys, I'm tired of responsibility." You can see how this all applies to a lot of what you're saying? This was a period of about 2 or 3 months of intense psychological stress.

    Well, as soon as I feel like things in my life are starting to go back to normal I begin to have pressure in my ears, which leads to hearing loss and hearing distortion. It felt an awful lot like a brain tumor. At the same time I started to notice some herpes outbreak deep inside my nose, and fearing it will show up on my lip I began taking Famvir. I've been to the ENT and they did the regular tests, but I'm the deep "brooding" type that wants to get to the bottom of everything, I've always battled with my introvertedness (probably not cut out for management.) The Meniere's symptoms have been going away after a week of taking the pills and I'm now I'm absolutely convinced it's herpes. It's no coincidence that I happened to have a bottle of famvir in the cupboard. I don't need studies on large groups of people to tell me what's going on, I've lived with this my entire life and the pattern of it is very familiar to me, I just hadn't put the two together yet!

    "Rupturing of the inner ear membrane can provoke an attack..." -- I've always known that chapped lips, sun burn or cutting my lip shaving was increasing the risk of an outbreak. I'm sure rupturing the ear membrane is the same.

    Unfortunately I don't feel like I can improve my social life. I intend to try, but what I'm really focused on right now is medicine or psychotherapy. I have always had problems with public speaking, I get a huge rush of adrenaline and end up embarassingly nervous, I've looked in to medication for this and identified beta-blockers like propranolol, which is sometimes illegally used in olympic shooting sports. I'm wondering if there are other medications to block out the glucocorticoids, here is some recent study:

    I never used to take the "psychological stress" factor seriously, I'm guessing most people feel similarly, but this has been an awakening for me.

    1. Jeff.... I can totally empathize with you... and feel that we probably have the same personality type. I've had masses of stress and promise myself to try and keep clear from it. The problem with me now though is that I am now worrying about being worried! Because I realise that it is most likely to be the root cause of my Meniere's...

    2. Sounds like a carbon copy of my experience!

  6. I began to ween myself off of valcyclovir (rx for herpes), unsupervised. Since that time I have had ear infection after infection, tinnitus, vertigo, and it is effecting the quality of my life drastically. I then, after researching why I might be having so many ear issues decided to restart the valcyclovir daily. My vertigo, tinnitus, and ear infections have improved. In fact, I forgot to take my morning meds yesterday. Around 1 pm I began to feel dizzy, my ears were ringing, all the typical symptoms. This continued to get worse until around 4 pm I took my vlacyclovir to see if it would have any effect. 15 or so minutes later, the symptoms were mostly gone. Meniere's and herpes is connected, no doubt in my mind.

  7. Hi Beatrice. I have the herpes simplex virus and when my mother passed away in April 2012 my immune system hit rock bottom. I had cold sores, eczema flared up, conjunctivitus, vertigo, severe headaches, tinnitus and the feeling of pressure in my ears and head. I am now taking medication (betahistine dihydrochloride) for meniere's disease even though I have not been diagnosed with it. So glad I found this site. Thank you. Sharon. Xx

  8. Hi everyone,

    Ive just turned 34 and have self diagnosed myself with MD (first symptoms appeared on 18th January 2013. My doctor has prescribed betahistine dihydrochloride which helps a little but has horrible side effects like nausea. The "vertigo" came on suddenly during the night. The following morning I fell flat on my face and could not walk or even crawl. I found a comfortable position and stayed that way for 24 hours. The vertigo seems to come on strongest in one position (tilting back) however there is always a slight feeling of "motion sickness" 24/7. As the above person states, I also have tinnitus and the feeling of pressure in my ears.

    Most importantly, I am a Herpes Simplex sufferer, however for the past 3 years I have managed really well without any significant out breaks. One virus I have been significantly exposed to however is varicella zoster virus (i.e chicken pox). My daughter had chicken pox on 1st January 2013, and my Son on 16th January 2013. Very coincidental! Also as you know VSV and HSV have a very similar genetic make up as they are both of the herpes family. I am no expert (however, MSc Biochemistry and Microbiology) and obviously have no empirical evidence but I am firmly of the belief that my condition has been caused by a virus. Unfortunately, if this is Herpes and it is now residing in the membrane of my inner ear, there is little of no hope for a cure. I expect the symptoms of Vertigo that I am feeling will come and go from month to month and year to year, but time will tell.

    Finally, I just started a new job! - a major stress factor!! Stress and Herpes are certainly linked without a doubt.

    1. Hi,
      My naturopath & I believe it is virus related because I had a bad case of the flu in 2012. However, I had forgotten about the possibility of HSV connection because I haven't had an outbreak in almost 20 years.

      March 2012 was when I experienced my first vertigo episode including the projectile vomiting. Luckily doesn't happen often unless I can't get to a lying position quick enough. At this time, I was very stressed out in the dept I was working in at the University. The supervisor wanted to fire me because nothing I did was good enough, to the point I was on the strongest microscope out there and if any comma, period or tab was misplaced I was written up.

      I know that HSV is a latent virus that stays in the nerve until it feels like being activated and why stress management and healthy living is so important. Well, I've found this blog after finding an article about the possible HSV connection to Meniere's and when I see my ENT in March I will ask him if has heard of it and if it's possible to get a RX for anitviral medication. I guess Zovaraz (?) or Valtrax would be options.

      Just know that you're not alone in this journey to find out more about Meniere's as well as finding support in the medical world for. Australia is lucky in that they've gotten to Parliment. here in the U.S. don't think anything is happening there.

      Good luck!

  9. Hi Beatrice,
    Just found your site. Has been a tremendous help to me at present towards solving a long term history of illnesses which are presently getting worse, but I believe to be connected, which gives me some peace, at least in the sense that I can target what I now believe to be a trigger,as you have stated-Herpes. Wow!! was like a light went on! really. I had my first serious episode of Menieres in the early nineties and have largely managed it up until recently when symptoms have begun to recur and increase again. On top of that, over the last 20 years have developed other illnesses/conditions which I also have discovered are problems to do with my auto-immune system, namely Hashimoto's, Atrophic Gastritis and more recently Oesophagitis. In the last few years I would get a severe pain in my ears which I now understand to most likely be Herpes. I actually caught genital Herpes in late eighties and on occasion suffered outbreaks when I was run down but I never made any connection to my Menieres, I often had the thought that the pain felt like i might have something in my ears. I am going to see a specialist next week for the first time in 7 years and will take all this info. For along time I just tried to manage on my own, staying healthy doing the usual, low salt, low stress (yeah like thats possible??) etc but my health is slowly deteriorating and for the first time I feel like this info you've shared might be a big clue in this puzzle. That being said I wanted to also share a testimony to the power of prayer. i am a Christian and regularly pray. You talk of the psycho neuroimmune connection and my own experience has taught me that it is very important to understand this too. Nevertheless, prayer has been and is still the only remedy to the recurrence of Tinnitus, which disappears immediately every time I pray. I am thankful for this as there are other symptoms I have to deal with on a daily basis. Thank you so much for your important research and sharing of information. It is a tremendous help. I wish you continued success in your journey and will look forward to following your progress. Bless you heaps!!

  10. I got onto this site this morning while looking for the metaphysical reason for a blocked ear. I awoke with alot of ear wax blocking it up. Basically unrelated to this forum but I saw the possible link to herpes and became very intrigued. I'll digress, I 1st contracted herpes simplex when 18 months old on a flight from Perth (oz) to Singapore. I got it in 3 layers on my mouth, around my mouth, in my mouth and down my throat. I would have died if not for a doctor breaking curfew after landing. It sucks hard let me tell you! Over the course of my life I have had it recur many many times. Mostly not too badly but at least 2 occasions that I can remember as bad as the 1st time. I never ever get it recurring now unless I slack off on my diet. And I mean never! It is really easy to control as long as you are militant with food intake following these 3 principles. 1stly every meal must have a higher lysine to arginine ratio. It isn't enough to go for overall intake it literally must be every meal. I believe this is because lysine is an essential amino acid meaning that you must intake it as your body cannot make it. Arginine can be made by the body and is therefore non essential. Therefore if the body detects low ratio of lysine it will use it for more important functions. No idea what they may be though! Your body doesn't care whether it uses lysine or arginine for the part that herpes hyjacks it will simply use the most prolific. That's why you have to keep Lysine levels high as the body will then always use it for that function which then makes it impossible for herpes to replicate. The second principle is regular intake of Indole-3-Carbinol. This is a compound found in all cruciferous vegetables but most highest in broccoli. I3C counteracts overly high levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone. I do bodybuilding and this is a well known fact in bb circles. The link between cortisol and herpes outbreak is scientifically still tenuous but i have proven it to myself unequivicobly. Twice i have had an outbreak while half way through a leg workout which is the single most stressful type of workout you can perform. one time I got the tingle and immediately ate a massive bowl of broccoli and it never actually broke out! Louise Hay says angry biting words is the root cause of herpes outbreak, easy to see that would come with high cortisol levels. I always get an outbreak in times of stress regardless of lysine ratio. Conversely I never get an outbreak during times of stress if I religiously eat broccoli. The 3rd thing is green coconut. Coconut has been proven to have anti viral properties regular intake of the water and flesh will smash any lurking virus in your system. Obviously how well it does that will depend on how much you intake and how many and what type of viruses there are. On a final note be careful to consider the protein content as well as the lysine ratio in the foods you consume. I have caught myself out on that point before. If you try to counteract a low ratio food with a high ratio food make sure the protein levels are equal or highest with the lysine high food. Broccoli is slightly higher in arginine and coconut is very high in arginine you'll need to add something with high lysine when you have those. Beetroot is good as it is a very nutritious vege and has way high ratio of lysine to arginine. Easiest is lysine tablets or any animal meat. That's me done. If Herpes is connected to your disease then this advice followed religiously should, I believe, do the trick and keep it at bay forever. Regards to all - Jeffrey Rose

  11. Wow Beatrice! Finally a Meniere's site I can relate to...thank you! I was diagnosed in 2011 and I've tried almost everything: John of Ohio Regimen, Oral steroids, Dexamethasone Perfusion, Water Pill, Low Sodium Diet, Paleo Diet , Zoloft and no caffeine or alcohol. I have not tried any of the surgeries yet or any antivirals. I'm going to a Neurotologist in Boston tomorrow (10-4-13). He is a board certified neurologist who specializes in vestibular and balance disorders such as Meniere's. -and he teaches this "stuff" at Harvard Medical...I'm hoping to get a different insight that I haven't researched yet! I guess my new favorite song is Vertigo by U2 - lol. I am an extrovert and upon reading your site, I may be neurotic also, I never considered these things before - thank you! Did I tell you I'm a music teacher, so my ears are my life...ironic huh? Marc

  12. Beatrice, I came across your blog while looking for a connection between Herpes Simplex and Vertigo. I recently had my yearly flu shot and then 3 days later I woke up with Vertigo (right side) for the first time in my life at 54 yrs. A couple of days later I noticed a Herpes outbreak in my right nostril. The flu shot was the only other correlation I could make as I couldn't pin point any unusual stress in my life.

    My Herpes was often triggered by my monthly cycle which has now ended. The other big Herpes incident in my life was when I had a small growth removed on my lower eyelid right next to the eye. It was a stressful medical procedure and I passed out in the procedure chair. It triggered Ocular Herpes in the same eye. I understand that the Virus is latent on the same nerve. I took a course of Acyclovir for that and it has not reoccurred.

    I am going to consult with an ENT to see if I should take a course of an anti-viral to calm the viral activity in my right ear. I did the Epley maneuver at home a couple of times and my symptoms of vertigo have mostly resolved. I believe you are right on track with your hypothesis on the connection with the Herpes virus. Best Regards to you. Ann

  13. Could it be that not only the Herpes Simplex virus has sth to do with it, but also Herpes Zoster?
    Did any of the present Ménière-disease sufferers have chicken-pox as a child?
    After childhood the zoster-virus resides in the human nervous system for decades after a chicken-pox attack. It can suddenly outburst again. I say this because my first Ménière-attack followed such a zoster-outburst 'out of the blue'. Also Ménière can stay away for a long time and reappear. Apart from that my blood shows that I'm allergic to mite since I've past the age of fourty, 5 years ago. And I've had psoriasis almost all my life. The two latter things have to do with the auto-immunity. I'm not saying one thing has to do with the other and with Ménière, but it is strange to me that all these (undeadly) things are united in 1 human body. (I will stop now before you people label me with the Crazy-disease )

  14. Very interesting article. I will research on some of what you have said. Do you know whether there is any connection between Herpes zoster (as I have this), and herpes that affects the ears? I have recurrent Meniers symptoms in both ears. I also have acne rosacea.. and after reading this article, I'm now wondering if there is a connection between all three ailments?

  15. Hi! I'm Dave from Mississippi,
    I was struck w/ MD on Sept. 28, 2008, the day our first grandchild was born at about the same time he was being delivered. I got it all,dizziness and vomiting and then the constant ringing in my right ear.
    I have a history of being a stressed person. I just turned 60 last November. Maybe, I learned it from a father who has been under medical care for stress since he returned from WWII in 1945. He was at Normandy.
    Alot of what you said fits into my life today. Stress from work, marriage, lack of soical activites, etc. It all fits! I just started a new job on Dec. 3rd that is very stressful (did not know that it would be at the time, but needed a job badly, so I took it) and after only having the constant ringing, sound of Niagra Falls, in my right ear & alittle dizzness from time to time, got hit big time on Sunday afternoon in the middle of the Denver vs Seahawks game with terrible dizziness & nausea. I had just eaten two pieces of dark chocolate & half a cup of whtie chia tea when it hit about 10 minutes later. So, I blamed two of my favorite foods for it all.
    But, during the week I have had two other moderate spells and have had almost no caffine. I was so fatigued & some dizzy this morning that I called off work as my main job is driving an average 145 miles a day picking up & delivering dry cleaning.
    I just told my wife this morning that I think my real problem is from stress & fatigue from life that I have not learned how to deal with properly.
    After resting most of the day today I got online and found your article. Seems to very much validate my situation.
    Thanks so much for this!

  16. I don't think it is helpful to consider Meniere's disease as caused by stress. After all, we all thought ulcers were caused by stress until Marshall showed that bacteria were responsible. He deserved the prize, not for the actual work he did, but for having the guts (!) to challenge the stress model and the inertia and overconfidence of the medical establishment. Personally, I think the cause of Meniere's disease is too simple and straightforward to merit a Nobel Prize. I think the key to this is recognition of the very common Meniere Spectrum Disorder, a reversible syndrome with the same symptoms as Meniere's disease. The very few where the syndrome does not clear up of its own accord then go on to develop Meniere's disease as recognised in an ENT clinic as a result of some irreversible change in the inner ear of unknown cause. As far as I have been able to check from the medical literature, the only cause of MSD is reduced pressure/volume in the perilymph, predisposing to endolymphatic hydrops. Risk factors include weight loss, dehydration, fevers, CSF hypotension, perilymph fistulas, hyperventilation, vascular hypotension, orthostatic hypotension. I have not yet found evidence that stress or anxiety per se causes MSD. If anyone knows of any cause of hydrops that is not primarily traceable to perilymphatic hypotension can they let me know please.

  17. I have hope that this is it. After no salt, low sodium, diuretics, antihistamines, no alcohol, no caffeine etc etc and NO results. This is my hope. My lab work reads that I am positive for herpes type 1 my range is 32.60! HIGH. I am going to see my gynecologist tomorrow. May God bless you and each of you reading this. Do not give up; we will fight this disease from hell! and we will be victorious!!!

  18. Waooow!! Nice blog, this will be greatly helpful.
    Herpes cure

  19. Hi there, I have a long history of Menieres (over 20 years) which steadily worsened over the past 10 years. Through lack of any alternative I eventually did as my doctor advised and "learned to live with it" - as you can imagine life had its challenges and was generally not much fun! I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and always wondered whether the two were connected - but - 2 years ago I suffered an attack of Shingles (re-activated chickenpox virus) on my head which affected one of my eyes as well. As a result of this I have been taking Acyclovir 400mg twice daily ever since, to prevent a recurrence in my eye, which threatened my sight. And guess what - during that time my Menieres symptoms have dramatically decreased and now I am almost normal, apart from a slight residual imbalance and clumsiness. my tinnitus has enormously reduced, I no longer feel pressure and fullness in my affected ear, my hearing has actually improved, and , best of all, I have had no further vertigo attacks. I also no longer have to live with the constant slight nausea and dizziness between attacks. I finally feel as though I am back firmly in my own head!

    I firmly believe that in my case the disease was caused by the chickenpox virus lurking in my inner ear, and am grateful both for the improved quality of life I now enjoy, and for the fact that my hearing has not been destroyed by this unpleasant and debilitating disease. I hope that my experience helps other sufferers.

  20. Having lived with this since age 12 , now 48 I have lost all hearing in on ear and 90% in the other. And By the way yes Children can have menieres. While it is nice to see exploration in this area there are no solid conclusions of root cause.

    The best thing everyone can do is STOP calling it a disease , it's not. It is a syndrome. To date there are many theories and in some cases there is a great deal of validity to those causes however the cause for one is not the cause for another. My Grandfather did not have this issue yet all 3 of his brothers did. On Both sides of my family there are those that have this to some degree. Some live with it on a regular basis while others have had a few episodes only to have the symptoms disappear.

    While there are many theories , if you look at the entire data set for everything you will soon see there is no single root cause that can be established. We know more now about the actions that take place but we are Far away from any determination of cause. I do not at all dispute the validity of stress being a factor. We know based on scientific
    data that , stress, salt, sugar, Nicotine, caffeine and and alcohol can all contribute to making symptoms worse. In some cases simply reducing the exposure to those elements can limit the effects. That however does not mean those alone are the catalyst. The viral theory comes up and has come up thousands of times. What I have NOT seen is any indication that this is valid based on studies of those with any virus or infection that did not experience the symptoms and a comparison of that data. It is not to say that in some cases that is not possible. All avenues should be explored with each patient. Autoimmune disorder, Genetic predisposition, allergy and exposure to any agents that have been previously flagged.

    Please take all this into consideration. It may help you avoid an endless cycle of false promise. Do not give up , but do not be willing to accept any answer that does not result in improvement. Challenge your ENT if you are NOT getting results. Be willing to go the extra mile and explore every possible opportunity. Keep an open mind but be subjective and educate yourself. I have passed on a lot of information to my doctors that they were not even aware of. This is not because they are incompetent they simply did not have the time..........