You gals don’t need me to tell you that there is nothing simple and straight forward when it comes to perimenopuase or menopause.
Us women are delicate and complex creatures to begin with and our biology is no different. So, when things decide to go all kitty-whompus (my own word, thank you) like perimenopause, the answers are rarely clear cut or straight forward.
Dizziness and vertigo are two symptoms in perimenopause that are not as oft discussed as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Yet, loss of balance, vertigo and dizziness are common complaints among perimenopausal and menopausal women.
What makes these symptoms so elusive is that both dizziness and vertigo can be traced to other causes besides menopause . Add to this that very little medical research has been done on them as possible symptoms of menopause and well, sometimes it’s hard to make the connection with our hormones.
In my own arm chair research while reading up for this topic, I’ve found that plenty of sources do at least acknowledge that women complain about these symptoms when they are of perimenopausal and menopausal age, but the hormonal connections are tenuous at best. At least, according to the medical community.
So, if you are suffering with dizziness and vertigo and are also of a perimenopausal/menopausal age, chances are it probably is perimenopause. But, without good medical research to back up our suspicions, it’s wise to presume and assume nothing. I would suggest you have it checked out thoroughly to rule out any other possible causes.
That said, I had horrible vertigo and dizzy spells during the worst of my symptoms. I remember distinctly, episodes that would literally come out of nowhere and I would have to grab the nearest counter or railing to keep from falling over.
One time in particular, I was walking across my yard with my son. I began to get dizzy and loose my balance. I walked sideways across my yard grabbing at the air (as if somehow I could save myself) trying to keep from falling. It didn’t work. I fell flat on my face. By the time my son rescued me and helped me up, I was fine. Though I found it peculiar and okay, a little scary too, knowing that I was perimenopausal at the time, I dismissed it as just another wacky symptom. (I had many)
Since that time I have several episodes of serious vertigo, the latest of which sent me to the hospital convinced I was having a stroke. After many months of doctor visits, tests and medications, it was suggested that I could have Meniere’s Disease. Meniere’s Disease is an inner ear condition that causes loss of balance, vertigo, dizziness and of course, falling. But, as is often the case with physicians, nothing was entirely conclusive. I was given the medication Meclizine to take when the symptoms came on and it has been effective in helping me manage it. But as to the actual cause? There are still no clear cut answers.
It could very well be that my recent symptoms are related to my inner-ear issues and the vertigo episodes I had during my more severe perimenopause years were tied to the peri. But, again, who really knows for sure.
So, forgive me for not being able to provide anything concrete and solid with these particular symptoms ladies. It’s just that I can’t find anything medically conclusive to share with you on the topic. Take comfort in the fact though, that if you are perimenopausal and suffering with dizziness and vertigo, many other women are also complaining about it as well. Around the kitchen table, there definitely seems to be a link between dizziness, vertigo and perimenopause. Medically speaking though, there is not enough evidence or research to nail it down with any type of certainty.
What You Can do About It
As I stated, I was prescribed Meclizine to help with my vertigo. It really does help. If I can sense an episode coming on, I can take it and head it off before it gets worse. It may be something you can ask your own doctor about as well.
There are also exercises you can do to help improve your balance if you’re not the pill-taking kind. I do seem to remember the physician telling me that they were helpful because they retrain a part of your brain to respond differently, thereby minimizing the dizziness and vertigo. This site has some head and neck exercises with images so you can see what you need to do. If you do not need photographs, you can check here at WebMD. They have some written explanations for exercise without the pictures.
I recently took up Yoga . As you may know, Yoga and Pilates are both good for strengthening your core muscles which improves balance. At the very least the stretching and toning will make you feel a bit better and certainly less stressed.
Because fluid accumulation is a part of the problem with inner-ear and balance issues, a low-salt diet is often recommended. You can even do as I’ve done at times and monitor how your symptoms and how you feel prior to a high salt diet, such as Chinese or Mexican, for example. Then after you’ve eaten the meal, check your symptoms. If you notice any changes or you feel light headed and dizzy, then lowering your salt in-take could be helpful for you.
Hang In There
Finally, remember ladies. Perimenopause is a transition. It is not forever. Once you pass through these annoying and sometimes debilitating symptoms you are on the other side. Though I still have a few issues here and there, my symptoms are few and far between these days. Had you told me this 10 years ago, heck, even 5 years ago, I might have shot you dead in the grave. But, I’m a testimony that this too shall surely pass and things really do get better. Hang in there.
I am so glad I read this! I have inner ear fluid issues. I have had two episodes of nightsweats, vertigo and nausea. I thought about Meniere's too. Went to the doctor and she said that the nightsweats were pre-menopause and nothing can be done about it. Turn on a fan. Then I was handed a sheet of head exercises for dizziness. I found a class offered by the same health system for what you can do to get through menopause. I am going to hand her the flyer.