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renie
July 20th, 2009, 04:50 PM
I haven't been on the board for awhile - too painful for me. I caught a nasty viral infection in February (probably from my gym--everyone had it and the virus lasted for a month in almost everyone who caught it). The virus settled in the inner ear. Prior to that, I swam 12 miles a week religiously, getting ready for my first summer off in about 30 years! My summer was going to start each day with a 3000 yard swim, some yoga, walking, maybe tennis. I had planned to take a few lessons to refine my strokes and hoped to swim with Masters. It is now almost August and I am still not able to swim. At first, the backstroke and freestyle resulted in severe motion sickness. Eventually, even breastroke and fly caused it. At first, the motion sickness only happened when I was swimming (almost the entire time), but I was fine when I got out of the pool. Then I became equally imbalanced even out of the water. Has anyone ever gone through this? My ENT says it can take months, or even years to recover from an inner ear inflammation. He also said it could be permanent damage. I am terrified, and needless to say, very depressed. I'm sorry to be a drag, but I know you all can understand. Thanks for listening.

ALM
July 20th, 2009, 05:23 PM
Has your doctor prescribed any drugs?

The first thing to try is Antivert; that's the prescription name. It's also available over the counter as Meclizine Hydrochloride. It's cheap over the counter - here's an example:

http://www.healthwarehouse.com/meclizine-hcl-25-mg-100-chewable-tablets.html

I don't have too many problems any more, but I still take a 12.5-mg tablet before doing any open water swimming.

My understanding is that for balance disorders that don't respond to the Antivert, the next drug that many ENTs prescribe is Valium.

While looking for the Meclizine link I also found this web site:
http://www.queasytraveler.com/index.php

meldyck
July 20th, 2009, 07:25 PM
Renie,

exactly the same thing happened to my wife in December 2008. At that time we both caught a nasty virus and hers settled into her inner ear. I was luckier and mine only hung on for about 6 weeks.

Anyhow, Grace (my wife) began to notice vertigo in the pool on backstroke, fly and on flip turns. In addition, she couldn't clear her ears after swimming and had significant hearing loss. After a couple of months she went to the local doctor who referred her to an Otolaryngologist. From that visit she was sent to someone who tested her balance and recommended vestibular therapy. She was given a prescription for a very expensive nasal spray and an OTC decongestant (Mucinex D). A couple of months on these and she has partially recovered - enough to compete in Nationals in Fresno last May and local meets later. Her swimming is now fine, for all strokes, but she complains that the effects from the virus still linger and are worse from time to time.

She already was doing balance exercises as a regular part of her overall training, so she has just continued to do that with some additions (walking and balancing with eyes closed, for example) on the recommendation of the PT.

Her hearing is better but still not fully recovered at this point.

Hope you are able to find a way out of this.

renie
July 20th, 2009, 07:55 PM
Has your doctor prescribed any drugs?

The first thing to try is Antivert; that's the prescription name. It's also available over the counter as Meclizine Hydrochloride. It's cheap over the counter - here's an example:

http://www.healthwarehouse.com/meclizine-hcl-25-mg-100-chewable-tablets.html

I don't have too many problems any more, but I still take a 12.5-mg tablet before doing any open water swimming.

My understanding is that for balance disorders that don't respond to the Antivert, the next drug that many ENTs prescribe is Valium.


While looking for the Meclizine link I also found this web site:
http://www.queasytraveler.com/index.php

Hi, I've taken my antivert prescription and even OTC Dramamine but it makes me so spacy and drowsy. Do you think you can swim after taking it? I only took 1/2 a pill! I'm sure I wouldn't be able to work out if I took even half a valium--I only take that when I have to fly and it totally relaxes me and makes me sleepy as well.

What was the reason for your imbalance or dizziness, if you don't mind me asking?

Thanks for the link.

renie
July 20th, 2009, 08:03 PM
Renie,

exactly the same thing happened to my wife in December 2008. At that time we both caught a nasty virus and hers settled into her inner ear. I was luckier and mine only hung on for about 6 weeks.

Anyhow, Grace (my wife) began to notice vertigo in the pool on backstroke, fly and on flip turns. In addition, she couldn't clear her ears after swimming and had significant hearing loss. After a couple of months she went to the local doctor who referred her to an Otolaryngologist. From that visit she was sent to someone who tested her balance and recommended vestibular therapy. She was given a prescription for a very expensive nasal spray and an OTC decongestant (Mucinex D). A couple of months on these and she has partially recovered - enough to compete in Nationals in Fresno last May and local meets later. Her swimming is now fine, for all strokes, but she complains that the effects from the virus still linger and are worse from time to time.

She already was doing balance exercises as a regular part of her overall training, so she has just continued to do that with some additions (walking and balancing with eyes closed, for example) on the recommendation of the PT.

Her hearing is better but still not fully recovered at this point.

Hope you are able to find a way out of this.

Thanks for the response! Sounds like your wife went through what I've been going through. A friend of mine has been telling me for months to take Benedryl or some mild allergy med. I used to always take an OTC non-drowsy allergy pill before swimming, then I stopped taking them. They only work for 4 hours, which is more than enough time. I am going to give it a try. It's weird how backstroke really bothered me the most, with my head being out of the water. I think the vestibular exercises I've been doing have helped. I need to be more vigilant. THanks again, I really really appreciate your input.

sydneybrown
July 21st, 2009, 09:26 AM
You probably have vestibulitis from your upper respiratory infection. (the ear kind, not the OB/Gyn kind). This is inflammation of the vestibular apparatus/nerve in your inner ear and brainstem that controls balance and head position. It will get better over time.

If you find that you only feel dizzy in certain head positions, you might have BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) that might be improved with the Epley maneuver.

renie
July 21st, 2009, 06:44 PM
You probably have vestibulitis from your upper respiratory infection. (the ear kind, not the OB/Gyn kind). This is inflammation of the vestibular apparatus/nerve in your inner ear and brainstem that controls balance and head position. It will get better over time.

If you find that you only feel dizzy in certain head positions, you might have BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) that might be improved with the Epley maneuver.

My ENT said I don't have BPPV, because it's overall motion sickness that is not alleviated by moving the head of one specific position. I've been dx with vestibular neuritis, as you've said. Thanks for the response.

ALM
July 21st, 2009, 11:27 PM
Hi, I've taken my antivert prescription and even OTC Dramamine but it makes me so spacy and drowsy. Do you think you can swim after taking it? I only took 1/2 a pill! I'm sure I wouldn't be able to work out if I took even half a valium--I only take that when I have to fly and it totally relaxes me and makes me sleepy as well.

I've never needed more than 12.5 mg of Antivert, which doesn't affect me when I swim. Benadryl would affect me a lot more, I'm sure.


What was the reason for your imbalance or dizziness, if you don't mind me asking?

Mine was vestibular neuronitis (also known as vestibular neuritis). I saw a neurotologist about it (an ENT who specializes in vestibular disorders) at a local university teaching hospital. He couldn't find a cause for mine but said that it was probably a virus that I had had at some point.

I went through a bunch of bizarre tests. An ENG confirmed that it was my left inner ear that was the culprit. The doctor did tell me to be patient, that the brain can learn to adapt when one side of the balance system is weaker than the other. I was diagnosed 13 years ago and mine has gotten a lot better. I rarely have an attack of vertigo any more.

Another thing I tried that does help me is I made a concerted effort to limit my sodium intake to 1500mg/day. I did this based on a study that my doctor did on Meniere's Disease patients. The balance system of the inner ear, as you probably know, is a fluid-based system. You probably also know that sodium intake causes fluid retention. His theory was that excess fluid retention affected the fluid-filled balance system of the ear. He found that the Meniere's patients had fewer balance problems if they limited their sodium intake. I decided to try it and it does seem to help me.

matysekj
July 21st, 2009, 11:44 PM
Mine was vestibular neuronitis (also known as vestibular neuritis). I saw a neurotologist about it (an ENT who specializes in vestibular disorders) at a local university teaching hospital. Blah, blah, blah...

Shorter answer. She met me and got dizzy and weak in the knees. :hug:

renie
July 22nd, 2009, 10:15 AM
I've never needed more than 12.5 mg of Antivert, which doesn't affect me when I swim. Benadryl would affect me a lot more, I'm sure.



Mine was vestibular neuronitis (also known as vestibular neuritis). I saw a neurotologist about it (an ENT who specializes in vestibular disorders) at a local university teaching hospital. He couldn't find a cause for mine but said that it was probably a virus that I had had at some point.

I went through a bunch of bizarre tests. An ENG confirmed that it was my left inner ear that was the culprit. The doctor did tell me to be patient, that the brain can learn to adapt when one side of the balance system is weaker than the other. I was diagnosed 13 years ago and mine has gotten a lot better. I rarely have an attack of vertigo any more.

Another thing I tried that does help me is I made a concerted effort to limit my sodium intake to 1500mg/day. I did this based on a study that my doctor did on Meniere's Disease patients. The balance system of the inner ear, as you probably know, is a fluid-based system. You probably also know that sodium intake causes fluid retention. His theory was that excess fluid retention affected the fluid-filled balance system of the ear. He found that the Meniere's patients had fewer balance problems if they limited their sodium intake. I decided to try it and it does seem to help me.

Thanks again. :bow: I was dx with VN as well. I've had all the required tests in 2006 which showed weakness in one ear. I recently saw a neuro otologist but was disappointed because she reviewed the old tests and said she thinks I have Meniere's. Yet all the ENTs I've seen said it's not Meniere's, its either Labrynthitis or VN. Maybe I should try the Antivert again. I'm sure I will build up a tolerance over time. I have cut down on the salt and eat raw ginger every day which not only helps motion sickness, but is very anti-inflammatory.

How long did your VN imbalance last? Mine started end of February. I really cannot put my head in the water - one can only do so many kick drills.:waiting:

ALM
July 25th, 2009, 05:49 PM
Thanks again. :bow: I was dx with VN as well. I've had all the required tests in 2006 which showed weakness in one ear. I recently saw a neuro otologist but was disappointed because she reviewed the old tests and said she thinks I have Meniere's. Yet all the ENTs I've seen said it's not Meniere's, its either Labrynthitis or VN. Maybe I should try the Antivert again. I'm sure I will build up a tolerance over time. I have cut down on the salt and eat raw ginger every day which not only helps motion sickness, but is very anti-inflammatory.

How long did your VN imbalance last? Mine started end of February. I really cannot put my head in the water - one can only do so many kick drills.:waiting:

I probably had attacks of vertigo for 7 or 8 years. But mine sounds a lot different from yours. My attacks were sudden, with no warning, but the worst part only lasted for a few minutes. If I then took an Antivert I was usually back to normal within a couple of hours. I only remember it happening once while I was swimming, and I just had to get out and sit on the pool deck.

I thought that my symptoms sounded more like Meniere's than VN. But I ran into an old friend who is now an ENT and told him about my vertigo. When I mentioned that I wondered whether it could be Meniere's, he started emphatically shaking his head "no". He said, "if it's Meniere's, when you have an attack you would be on your hands and knees, vomiting." He also said that, as an ENT, it is very frustrating to treat patients with vestibular disorders. He said he had instructed his staff to schedule his appointments for only one or two "dizzy" patients per day, because it was all he could handle.

For reducing your sodium intake, make sure you read the food labels. Things like canned soups can contain 800-1000mg of sodium per serving. Not good when trying to stay under 1500mg for an entire day. Also, restaurant food contains tons of sodium. I notice more vertigo problems just after taking a trip where I had to eat restaurant food most of the time.

renie
July 25th, 2009, 06:28 PM
Jayhawk: Thanks. I think people are often misdiagnosed as having Meniere's when doctors are unsure. I've never had attacks like yours -- when they come, they last at least 24 hours with residual imbalance for months after. This last attack has resulted in imbalance being set off by swimming - my worst possible scenario - I swam in 3 weeks after double stomach surgery and the day after I broke my foot. This really has hammered me. Thanks for all your help.

BTW, I almost never eat canned food and rarely eat out. My salt intake is pretty low.