Characterized by lightheadedness and disorientation, dizziness can be disconcerting and unexpected. Though temporary disequilibrium can affect anyone - typical reasons include motion sickness and low blood sugar - it can also develop in women later in life as a symptom of menopause. Dizziness can be frightening when it is unexpected because many people confuse it with a heart condition or something more serious. However, usually, dizziness during menopause is a symptom of decreasing levels of the hormone estrogen in the body, and should not be a cause for concern.
Hormone fluctuations are the most common cause of menopausal dizziness, since the drastic fluctuations in estrogen levels can change body chemistry, including changes in both the blood vessels and nervous system. Though hormonal imbalance is characteristic of all women going through menopause, some are more likely than others to experience dizziness as a symptom of the change.
Other Menopause Symptoms
As those going through menopause will know, dizziness is not menopause's only symptom. In fact, many common side effects of this stage in life are directly the cause of others, creating a chain of uncomfortable situations that happen to coincide. Hot flashes, migraines, and anxiety or panic disorder can all appear in conjunction with hormonal imbalance, but these don't stand alone: when the sensations come on, they can trigger dizziness alongside them.
Dehydration can cause dizziness in any person. Without enough water, cell function within the body suffers and normal processes slow down. Luckily, it's simple to steer clear of such a problem by drinking enough water and other hydrating fluids, like fruit juice and herbal tea. Foods like soups and fruits also contain water and count toward your daily fluid intake.
When lifestyle changes and herbal supplements aren't enough, prescription drugs can help people get back to their normal lives. Antidepressants are often used to deal with out-of-control hot flashes, among other uncomfortable symptoms. As all medication does, however, they come with their own set of potential side effects - including dizziness. If vertigo starts around the same time as this treatment, there's a good chance the two are linked. Talk to your physician before changing or stopping any prescription medication.
Once the root of menopausal dizziness is found, managing symptoms becomes an easier task. If the condition starts to affect your everyday life, however, it's recommended to consult a doctor to ensure that no underlying problems exist. Getting on the road back to normal life is less complicated with all the facts on hand.
- John Hopkins Medicine. (2015). Introduction to Menopause. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/gynecological_health/introduction_to_menopause_85,P01535/
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Menopause - Treatment. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Menopause/Pages/Treatment.aspx