Menopause Dizziness: A Midlife Carnival Ride Gone Bad
“Is dizziness a symptom of menopause?” We get this question a lot. As well as how to stop heart palpitations from hormones , electric shock sensation, and changes in body odor--all odd, yet real menopause issues--yes, we’re here to tell you that some women may experience menopause dizziness during this life transition.
And we’re going to tackle the who, what, when, where, and why of this particular symptom so that, should you encounter it during your perimenopause or menopause experience, you’re armed with information and ready to take control.
Different Types of Dizziness
Did you know there are three different types of dizziness? It’s true!
First, there’s lightheadedness, where your head likens itself to a balloon whose ribbon has just been released. This sensation can often be accompanied by clouded vision, the feeling that you may faint, or a loss of balance and fall.
Second up is disequilibrium. Defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a “loss or lack of equilibrium,” this is the type of dizziness where you feel as if you’re about to fall, or the floor is tilting, and not in a fun way. Other symptoms that can occur during an episode of this type of dizziness include unsteadiness, spatial disorientation, and faintness.
Last, but not least, there’s vertigo. Is the room spinning? Are you feeling pulled in one direction or like you could fall over at any moment? That’s vertigo for you. This form of dizziness can often bring with it headaches, sweating, ringing in the ears, and vomiting.
If any of the above three types of dizziness occur, lie down and wait for the sensations to pass. Once you’re feeling steady and able to safely move, get up slowly and start hydrating. Then? As always, we prefer being safe rather than sorry, so call your doctor and schedule a time to check-in.*
What Causes Menopause Dizziness?
As with many perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, there’s often not one answer to what causes certain symptoms. But we’ve gathered some possible suspects.
You’ve likely heard a lot about the impact of hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause. In a word? Huge. At a certain point in your life, your ovaries stop producing eggs. This causes the body to slow down the production of estrogen and progesterone. It’s the lesser amount of these two hormones that lead to all kinds of menopausal symptoms, possibly including dizziness.
Menopause and blood sugar
Menopause and blood sugar don't mix well. Our friends estrogen and progesterone also dabble in regulating your blood sugar. So, when the body produces less and less of these two hormones, fluctuations in your blood sugar can occur, likely leading to dizziness in some women. This is why you need a good understanding of hormones and nutrition.
Middle ear issues
Not to repeat ourselves, but HORMONES. Changes in estrogen and progesterone can impact your inner ear health. The inner ear can be impacted by tinnitus in menopause and the inner ear health is vital to balance. Balance is key to staving off dizziness.
A very common symptom for older women in menopause is fatigue. Unfortunately, it can seriously impact you and your body in a variety of ways, including, for some women, sleep disturbances, mental menopause brain fog, mental lapses, and, wait for it--dizziness.
One of the most common complaints during perimenopause, migraines can be triggered by hormonal changes--and even worsen headaches during menopause. And one of the aspects of experiencing a migraine? You guessed it. Dizziness.
Obviously not exclusive to menopause, but intimately tied, aging in general has been linked to dizziness--and more so in women than men. Some studies suggest an increase in the likelihood of experiencing vertigo as you age/go through menopause. That is why if you are older than 40, we advise you to get a menopause test done.
But this is definitely one of those areas where more scientific study is needed to provide concrete proof.
The process that the body uses to convert the food and drink you consume into energy, metabolism during menopause slows down due to a decrease in estrogen and muscle mass. Less estrogen can negatively impact blood glucose levels. And as those levels rise and fall, it’s possible that your cells will not receive the energy they need. This can cause dizziness.
Ways to Treat Dizziness
We’re going to provide a few lifestyle changes here, which you should read, think about, and consider incorporating into your daily routine. And then, you should see your doctor. We’re big on that because, well, that’s what they’re there for.
Are you tired of being told to drink water? Staying hydrated in menopause is honestly one of the best things you can do for your body. And if you hate plain water? Try squeezing some fresh lemon or orange juice into your glass. And there’s always decaffeinated herbal tea. Also, track your water intake. There are all sorts of ways to do this--special glasses that measure out exactly how much you need daily and apps for not only adding “drink water” to your to-do list, but recording your progress.
With menopause and stress...this is easier said than done. Work, family, finances, illness, loss--we’re right there with you. But the truth is, the stuff that triggers stress is never going to magically disappear. So it’s time to take a proactive stance. Exercise. Meditate. Improve your diet. You don’t have to do everything at once. And let go of any ideas you might have that once you introduce stress-relievers into your life, you’ll become a zen goddess who never, ever experiences stress again. This isn’t Disney. It’s your life, and there will continue to be ups and downs. But maybe, the ups start to outweigh the downs, and you’ll see what a life with less stress really has to offer.
It can feel counterintuitive to encourage snacking because menopausal weight gain is so common. After all, it’s harder for a perimenopausal or menopausal women to lose weight. So shouldn’t we be eating less, rather than more? Not exactly. The trick is to eat the right foods, especially when it comes to regulating your blood sugar--which is important in warding of dizziness. Choose snacks made up of unsaturated fats such as nuts, avocados, flax seeds, and green veggies. And avoid the saturated and artificial trans fats found in many processed baked goods and snack foods. Say goodbye to french fries.
Here’s To Treating Menopause Dizziness
At the end of the day, dizziness is not typically a sign of something more severe,* which is a good thing. But we know this doesn’t make it any less annoying. Hopefully, the combination of knowledge, some new lifestyle choices, and a check-in with your doctor will make you feel more in control of your dizziness. You’ve got this.
*It is not Gennev’s intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Gennev urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.
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Learn about Gennev’s menopause blog information from the founder herself, Jill Angelo.
Have you taken our Menopause Assessment?
Join over 100,000 women to learn more about your symptoms and where you are in the menopause journey.