It is a medically recognised fact that feelings of dizziness are commonly experienced at the time of perimenopause as well as during menopause itself. The term ‘dizzy’ is used to cover three main sensations and all three have different causes. It helps to identify which kind you’re experiencing before seeking the best management plan.
Various Types of Menopausal Dizziness
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- Light-headedness – This is when you feel as if your head is floating up from your body. It’s a very strange and alarming sensation, which often happens if you leap out of bed too quickly. It can also be caused by rising to your feet suddenly from a chair or even a fast turn of your head.
- Disequilibrium – A condition that causes you to feel unsteady, as if you could easily fall over. It’s the manifestation of a fault in your natural balance mechanism. You may also find you are struggling with certain coordination issues.
- Vertigo – This is characterised by the illusion of the room spinning around. Static objects can appear to be moving and this sensation can affect your sense of balance so acutely that you are barely able to walk around without holding onto the walls or furniture. It can make you feel out of control and often the only thing to do is to stay in bed. There is often a link between migraines and vertigo.
What Causes Dizziness During Menopause?
The precise reason for dizziness during menopause has not been conclusively established, but certain contributing factors have been identified:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – Studies have found BPPV to be one of the chief causes of menopausal dizziness.
- Hormonal changes taking place within a female body have been found to impact upon the function of the inner ear. This part of the ear is responsible for your sense of balance. Just before, and often during menstruation, many women find their sense of balance is impaired, so it follows that with approaching menopause these sensations manifest themselves.
- Sinus problems may arise during hormonal fluctuation and this kind of inflammation can give rise to feelings of dizziness.
- Migraine Headaches – During the perimenopause (the years leading to menopause), hormone levels will fluctuate, and this can trigger migraines. This is much more likely to happen pre-menopause rather than post-menopause and is known as vestibular migraine. It is this type of migraine which may also cause dizziness. For women who already suffer from these type of headaches, impending menopause may increase the frequency of symptoms.
- Anxiety – During the menopausal transition, many people struggle with various issues such as fatigue, joint pain, hot flushes and night sweats, which often trigger feelings of anxiety. A frequent or constant state of anxiety is likely to be a cause of dizziness. A Japanese study into the possible link between anxiety and menopause, examined the records of 471 women aged 40 to 65 years who had enrolled in a health and nutrition programme at a menopause clinic. Its aim was to establish the association of depression and anxiety symptoms in relation to the incidence of dizziness. It was found that the prevalence of dizziness was closely linked to anxiety amongst participants and concluded that treatment for anxiety be recommended.
- Insomnia – A common symptom of anxiety which can also trigger dizzy spells.
- Blood Sugar – Changes in hormone levels during menopause can play havoc with blood sugar levels because they alter the way the body responds to insulin. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can cause dizziness.
- Fatigue – The menopause can cause chronic fatigue and a state of exhaustion is often accompanied by feelings of dizziness and impaired balance.
- Cardiovascular System – Fluctuations in oestrogen levels can occasionally impact on cardiovascular function. Any such issues, including tachycardia, can cause feelings of dizziness, particularly the light-headed type.
Dizziness Unrelated to Menopause
Dizziness can often be experienced, which has nothing whatsoever to do with menopause. Some of the reasons for general dizziness are:
- Panic attacks
- Low blood pressure
- Sinus infection
- Meniere’s disease (particularly if you also have hearing loss)
The Medical Route to Managing Menopausal Dizziness
In the first instance, it’s advisable to get your GP to check your symptoms so any underlying conditions can either be ruled out or managed accordingly. If you can first identify the type of dizziness you are experiencing this will help your doctor to investigate the most likely cause.
Following your appointment with the GP, if it is confirmed that the most likely reason for your dizziness is menopause, and if you also have other menopause-related problems, you may be offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT). At this point, your doctor should make you aware of the possibility that taking HRT could increase your risk of stroke, heart attack and breast cancer.
The Natural Health Route to Managing Menopausal Dizziness
Menopause is not a disease but a naturally occurring part of a woman’s life. In spite of this, it brings with it a variety of unwelcome issues, which can cause distress. Many women prefer to manage these issues by natural means, and certain traditional herbal extracts have stood the test of time in helping to stabilise the effects of fluctuating hormones.
Help is at hand in the form of a blend of the active ingredients of widely acclaimed and effective herbs to support you through the trials of menopause. Our very carefully formulated combinations of the best and most effective natural herbal extracts and vitamins are available in capsule form, called simply Menopause Support – Day and Menopause Support – Night. These capsules will help balance hormones and ease the negative effects of menopause at those times when they are most needed.
To further minimise the effects of dizziness without the use of pharmaceutical drugs, there are certain things you can do to help yourself:
- Ensure your blood sugar levels keep stable. You may find that a healthy snack between meals will help, so keep a few things in the fridge such as cooked chicken drumsticks and hard-boiled eggs. Natural Greek yoghurt with a few grapes or berries also gives a between meals lift.
- Keep your weight within the safe range by making healthy choices such as fresh fruit, plenty of vegetables and lean protein. Try cutting out saturated fats, sugar and processed foods.
- Ensure you get some exercise each day. It doesn’t have to be high-intensity activity. Many people find that a walk in the fresh air lifts their spirits as well as being beneficial for heart and lung function and keeping muscles and joints in good working order.
- When you get up from either lying or sitting, do it slowly so that your blood pressure and the fluid in your inner ear has time to adjust.
- Keep hydrated. Remember to drink extra water; you can always add just a dash of squash if you’re not keen on drinking it straight. Enjoy a mug of herbal tea or treat yourself to the benefits of a tisane at various intervals throughout the day.
- If you suspect that anxiety and stress may be contributing to your feelings of dizziness, it’s important to make some lifestyle changes. Try to release yourself from some of the things which are overwhelming you. Address any issues which are causing you stress. Talk to those close to you so they understand how they can help to support you. More and more people are finding they can overcome stress and anxiety by using a mindfulness and meditation app, which may help regain that state of calm.
Additional Professional Support
The British Menopause Society (BMS) has a wealth of information, advice and support on hand. The service provides a guide for healthcare professionals but also to anyone in need of advice. There are various ways of tapping into the support given by the BMS, such as phone calls with specialist nurses, information sheets, newsletters, meetings, seminars and workshops on all the aspects of menopause. Many of their guides are available as free downloads but some of their services have to be paid for. BMI also have a facility which can help put you in touch with a recommended and verified menopause specialist local to you.
The team at Supplement Place will be pleased to offer information and advice on natural supplements for menopause-related issues. Call us on 01297 553932 (Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm) or email: [email protected].