35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Dizziness & Vertigo

by Magnolia on February 4, 2013

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Unlike hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, dizziness and vertigo are two symptoms of perimenopause which are not discussed very often, although many women, myself included, suffer horribly with it.

During my years of perimenopause, I had several episodes of dizziness and vertigo.  One of the more memorable episodes occurred one day when my son and I were walking outside together.

Without warning, I began to get dizziness and lose my balance, stumbling sideways across the yard.  I clutched and snatched 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 onto the ground.

By the time my son came to my rescue, I was fine.  He helped me up, dusted me off, and it was as if it never happened.  Since then, I’ve had several episodes of serious vertigo.  The last episode occurred in 2008, and was so severe, I couldn’t walk, I was nauseous, and could only lie on the floor wailing for someone to help me.  Convinced I was having a stroke, my husband took me to the ER.

After many months of subsequent doctor visits, tests, and medications – all of which remained inconclusive – it was suggested I may have Meniere’s Disease, an inner ear condition which causes loss of balance, vertigo, and dizziness. I was given the medication Meclizine to take when the symptoms came on. It was effective in helping me manage the symptoms.  But, I still had no clear cut answers as to the actual cause.

dizziness and vertigo are symptoms associated with hypothyroidism>

The problem with both dizziness and vertigo, is that they can be traced to so many other conditions. So, when women complain of these symptoms during perimenopause, hormone imbalance is usually not thought to be the cause.

I’ve done many searches on dizziness and vertigo in perimenopause on the Internet over the years, both general, and on medical and research university websites. To date, I’ve turned up very little information. There are plenty of sources which at least acknowledge that women complain about these symptoms during perimenopause, but beyond that, they do not offer much explanation as to the source of the symptoms.

However, I ran across an E-How article recently which caught my attention. While I certainly wouldn’t make E-How my go-to site for research on perimenopause symptoms, I was intrigued by the article because of the recent posts I did last month on hypothyroidism.

According this article, which you can read right here, dizziness and vertigo are symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.  Given that so many women suffer with hypothyroidism during perimenopause, and that a lot of women also complain of dizziness and vertigo during perimenopause, could it be that hypothyroidism is the culprit?

I don’t know, but I’m asking.

The article referenced The Merck Manual of Health and Aging as a source.  I happen to have a current edition of The Merck Manual of Medical Information, but did not see any references to hypothyroidism in the dizziness and vertigo section. I remain intrigued nonetheless.

Dizziness and vertigo will be the subject of blog topics for the month of February here at The Perimenopause Blog.  Given the lack of good information available on the subject, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to explore this topic for an entire month. However, this little E-How article has changed all of that.

I have also reached out to BodyLogicMD for their opinions on the subject.  I haven’t heard back from anyone yet.  As soon as I do, I will post their response.  In the meantime, I have a renewed interest and enthusiasm for this subject.  With so many women complaining of dizziness and vertigo in perimenopause, somebody needs to be talking more about it.

Why not me?

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{ 327 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie May 14, 2015 at 8:16 pm

I was so relieved to read this. I too have had dizziness and feeling fuzzy/woozy about 10 days before my period, which is irregular. I also have had racing heart. I’ve been to several doctors including gyro and cardiologist. Nothing found.

Has anyone also notice random complete intolerance to alcohol? I had one glass of wine last night and felt completely loopy.

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Shelley June 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

I don’t have a complete intolerance, but I can’t do red wine for some reason. Totally makes me feel weird. No problems with white wine, though. This has been going on for about a year now (I’m 52, started perimenopause symptoms at 50). And by the way, I’m on this site today because I’m at work right now and just had a weird dizzy spell. One thing that helps me is that now that I know what this is all about, I don’t panic and I get through the episodes much better.

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Cathy May 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

I too get dizzy spells, and I have been dealing with the symptoms of menopause for 4 years now. I am now 51 and get the spells a few times a week, I do not have diabetes, I am on medicine for high blood pressure so I do not have a problem with that anymore. I too have been researching the dizziness and vertigo. I had a spell the other day walking into a store with my 9 yr old daughter and I told her hand on to me tight because I was having a spell, once I got into the store it was gone. It scares me every time and I knew it had to be because of menopause, it just made sense to me

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sab May 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

I think that is great that you are going to be researching this. I have been going through peri-menipause for the last year or so. I get VERY dizzy, I have even had the “bed spins” with no alcohol consumption, but what I have realized is that the dizziness is also cyclical. In fact, frequently it begins and ends when I should have had my period. The dizziness will be sporadic for 3-5 days (similar in time to the heavy part of my period) and then will disappear. It will then return when I would typically expect another period. Any suggestions on supplements that might help would be great!

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Far May 22, 2015 at 1:38 am

Such a relief to read this. I’m going through peri-m for several months now. I also get dizzy/vertigo spells. It actually started four days ago and still goes on/off. I do get bed-spins too even though I don’t drink alcohol at all. I feel anxious and panic when it starts. Is there any way to alleviate symptoms?

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Fari May 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Dear Magnolia, thanks for this blog. Did your vertigo spells finish after the full menopause? Is it completely gone now? Thanks. I’m in peri menopause and having severe vertigo. I relate to most of comments here.

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Rhona Hotchkiss May 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Very reassuring to read of people’s experiences on here. I keep thinking I’m through the menopause and then I get a flush or some period type pain, but the worst is this dizzyness. I get it to varying degrees sometimes more than once a day and sometimes not for weeks or even months, but the most horrible bit is how scary it feels. For just a few seconds at a time, I feel like I might be going to die. Does anyone else feel that bad or panicky?

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Kim May 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Two weeks ago I woke up with the bed spins, I was so scared. Happened bad again a few times that weekend, feeling like I was going to be sick.. Been to the doctor got antibiotics thinking I had sinus infection. But still not right! I feel like I’m on a boat and get that rocking feeling all the time, like I’m moving but I’m sitting or standing still..woke up that morning and never been the same since. It’s really starting to get me down. I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago, so don’t get periods to know if I’m going through menopause. My boobs have been real tender for the last few weeks, and for years on and off I get this burning weird feeling on my legs.. I feel like I’m going nuts!!

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Gail June 30, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Hi, had to respond to your post as I’m sitting hear at work right now with your same exact symptoms. The only difference is I have a hearing impairment and wear a hearing aid. I had a very bad episode of this in 2008 at age 45 and thought I was going crazy. Like you, and I went for all kinds of exams, ENT, MRI, CAT Scans, you name it, and they never really did find anything. They just told me my brain, ears, and eyes are not coordinating. But it passed and didn’t really have another episode until 3 weeks ago (right before my period ). I am hoping it’s hormone related and it will pass (in a few years, lol), but it’s insane trying to live like this. I’m now 53 and not sure what the heck is going on, but this is really the pits

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Gail June 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Gunilla, also wanted to add that I notice when the humidity kicks up, or there is rain coming, the ear and dizzy symptoms get much worse. I am wondering if barometric pressure has anything to do with this?

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Caro July 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Just started feeling weird and woozy. Bad weather, thunderstorms for the past week. On antibiotics for ear infection which I doubt is my problem. I am in perimenopause and wondered about barometric pressure too.

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Gunilla May 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

I’m so happy to finally find others who can related to what I’m going through! I am 47 and have been suffering from this nasty vertigo for 2 years now. My problems started all of a in the summer (right after having come off birth control pills – coincidence or not I don’t know). I had symptoms pretty much all the time, to various degrees, during the summer months (June-Aug/Sept.) My vertigo symptoms feel like swirling/wavy inside my head (things don’t spin around me, the spinning is in my head), always seems worse while driving, feel unstable while walking and vision slightly blurry, stuffed up ears (especially my left one) and sinus pressure/head ache, fuzzy brain and not begin able to completely focus etc. I have been freaked out so many times while driving (to the point of shaking/having panic attach) and have had to stop and try to calm down or I’ve had to get rides from fiends for weeks on end. I’ve been to ENT, neurologist, had blood work done etc. and all results came back fine. (I gave up seeking more testing as nobody could ever find any solution or know what else to try). That fall-spring the vertigo ease up a bit and like many others on here I could see a pattern with having symptoms coinciding with my period. Well, then last summer it hit me full force again in June just like the previous summer and the severity was very similar to the previous summer as well. But last summer I also started having frequent episodes (usually in the afternoons/evenings) of what I assumed to be hot flashes. My face became burning hot, red/blotchy face/neck and bright red burning ears. I finally spoke with my OBGYN and got back on the birth control pills (I still have my period every month) this fall and that seemed to help with the worst hot flash symptoms although I do still get them at times. The vertigo symptoms seemed to lessen as well (like the year before) and I didn’t have them quite as often. The last few months I have felt pretty good with few vertigo symptoms (knock-on-wood) but I have been worrying about and dreading the severe ones coming back this summer.
Today I was running errands after work when suddenly I started feeling woozy/dizzy, left ear stuffed up and pressure in my head. Felt like I couldn’t breath but it got a little better once back in the AC again. It’s been in the 80’s today, very humid and storms came through this evening. Looking back at my history I do think my symptoms get worse when it’s hot and humid outside. Has anyone else ever noticed the same thing?
I have allergies (mostly sinus/headache related) which I take Flonase and Claritin D for daily and get shots for once a month. I’m sure this contributes or is part of the problem as well. I have acid reflux which flares up, once in a while but otherwise I’m a very healthy person. I usually drink a lot of water and eat healthy but could be exercising more, lol. Reading other people’s posts here I may consider getting tested for hyperthyroidism and that it’s time for another talk with my OBGYN about possible remedies.
I’m so frustrated/sad/anxious with the thought of having to go through this again, how it messes with my mind and affects my daily life/activities. For all of you who have gone through peri menopause, how long does it generally last?? Cannot wait to be done with this!
Gunilla

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Karleen June 13, 2015 at 11:16 pm

I am experiencing similar symptoms. A bad case of vertigo hit me last June and never completely went away but did ease up over the fall and winter. The symptoms just got stronger again since the beginning of June. I didnt make the connection until I read your post. I have had many severe menopausal symptoms and Im thinking vertigo is another one to add to the list

Karleen

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Gail June 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Hi, had to respond to your post as I’m sitting hear at work right now with your same exact symptoms. The only difference is I have a hearing impairment and wear a hearing aid. I had a very bad episode of this in 2008 at age 45 and thought I was going crazy. Like you, and I went for all kinds of exams, ENT, MRI, CAT Scans, you name it, and they never really did find anything. They just told me my brain, ears, and eyes are not coordinating. But it passed and didn’t really have another episode until 3 weeks ago (right before my period ). I am hoping it’s hormone related and it will pass (in a few years, lol), but it’s insane trying to live like this. I’m now 53 and not sure what the heck is going on, but this is really the pits.

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kelly May 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much for all of these comments. I’m 40 years old. I share the symptoms you all describe, dizziness around the period time. It’s like I have a hangover. I can’t lie down. It makes it worse.

Any ideas on how to improve it would be great. It’s so unsettling. I actually told my kids tonight that if I pass out they should call 911. It scared me so much. Look forward to more info here.

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Suzette Hardie June 1, 2015 at 2:43 am

I have had sever vertigo which started suddenly a month ago .I think it is related to the menopause as I am 52 and have had some slight hot flushes at times and periods are very scarce . It is the most horrible and frightening thing and I was not prepared for this at all .I am going to the doctor today as I hope I can get HRT if this is hormonal .I have at least 2 severe episodes each day where I feel like I am on a boat I usually wedge myself into a corner and shut my eyes until it passes I feel extremely nauseous and sometimes hot -which also makes me think it is menopause related . The rest of the time I have dizzy spells which I can cope with as they are not so severe and pass quickly .As everyone says things don’t spin around me but in my head . I was given Cinnarizine travel sickness pills which haven’t helped at all .I too feel sick, headachey and hungover and have not been able to drink alcohol at all the past few weeks .I will let you all know what my doctor says today !

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Tine Kroyer June 3, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Very interesting discussion. I am 52 and have not yet started menopause, but have been suffering with vertigo since I was 47, during some periods very severely. After many unsuccessful trips to the doctors and various tests, I was advised by a whollistic practitioner to use a homeopathic product called Vertigoheel. I took it daily for a few months, until the weekly and sometimes daily vertigo attacks almost all but disappeared. Thereafter I have used it as and when I get the occasional attack, and I carry it with me in my bag at all times, just in case!

Like other writers here, my vertigo often coincides with PMS, but in my case also at the start of any virus I get, like colds, stomach bugs and flu. And also when I feel stressed or under pressure, at times. So, it seems to happen when my body is required to perform that bit extra for whatever reason.

I still don’t know exactly why it happens, but during my many websearches on vertigo, the subject of magnesium deficiency has caught my eye again and again. So, a few months ago I started taking magnesium citrate supplement daily. It is now truly paying off! My vertigo and migraine attacks connected to my PMS have almost gone! I hope it continues like this!!

The thought on a connection with hypothyroidism is very interesting. The whollistic practitioner confirmed a sluggish thyroid with me, consistent with my age and presumed impending menopause.

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Elizabeth Robertson June 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Thank you all for sharing! Now I know I’m NOT crazy! I have experienced “all of the below” and even ended up at the audiologist who gave me hearing aids…and I’m only 52!!! I have had a lot of ailments in my life (including breast cancer), but I gotta say, menapause is THE WORST!!! good luck to you all!

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Jen June 6, 2015 at 10:09 pm

I live in Australia and feel relieved to have found this website and your comments. Not because I want people to feel the same symptoms as me (!), rather that I don’t feel a hypochondriac anymore. I’m 46 and ‘giddy’ spells started a week ago, but while I’m sitting down. I have low blood pressure, thyroidism in my family but not often dizzy when I am seated. I had horrific heart palpitations 5 years’ ago, whereby I thought my heart was going to burst through my chest – no heart issues though. The palps have subsided but now my period is becoming highly irregular, with a heavy headache onset 1-2 days prior. Some friends dismiss my ‘declaration’ that I’m perimenopausal because my hormone levels haven’t fluctuated.

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Monica June 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Just today June 12 I woke to go to the bathroom & room was spinning! Ive been vomiting since then, trying to retrace my steps & what Ive eaten. My period just ended yesterday snd it only lasts 2 days. Right ear started pulsating but no pain. Im a fitness instructor/personal trainer with a very busy schedule. Any help would be appreciated.

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Bee June 16, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Reading this brings it all together for me,I too seem to get the dizzy spells around the time I used to get my period. I am about to turn 55 and have been suffering from vertigo for about 1 year now. Of course with this comes nausea , I wake up feeling like I have a hangover , my vertigo usually lasts for the whole day.My doctor has explained to me this is very common with menopause, funny thing is though I have recently had blood tests to confirm I am post menopause. I have not had a period for over a year now. I guess the most difficult part of going through this is that you feel you are in no man’s land/uncharted territory its scary and very dis-empowering, you feel like your’ve lost control. I am so happy to be sharing this blog with others I am a true believer in ” we are all in this together” the more information we share the more we help each other.

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Cathy June 18, 2015 at 9:52 am

I just found this website and so happy to read that so many other women are experiencing similar symptoms. I though that I was going crazy and the only one feeling these episodes of lightheadedness – not spinning but the brain feels tense and fizzy. I’m 48 and in peri-m. My periods were like clock-work until my mid-40s when they started to show up every 2-3 months. Just the thought of the possibility of being pregnant scared me. I’ve tried looking up reasons for lightheadness and there are few relations leading to peri-m, but I’m convinced that it’s related. When I’m sitting, my head feels very heavy and like there is pressure between the ears leading to the centre of my forehead. It lasts for weeks until my period finally shows up. Anyone feeling this way?? It’s a crazy feeling that leaves me a little nervous but as I read the many comments, it’s not just me going crazy. When I’m moving, I feel unbalanced, like I’m going to faint but thankfully never have. Being a woman SUCKS! Hope to hear from anyone who is experiencing similar symptoms and can add their comments. Thanks Cathy

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brenda June 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Hi All,
I’m glad we can find comfort knowing others experience the same thing.
I get clogged ears and dizziness, which only started when I entered menopause.
It gets worse with exercise.
Hopefully this will all go away once the hormones settle down!

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Gail June 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Hi Cathy, I have that same heavy head feeling, pressure between my ears, and feel like I’m going to faint. It’s awful feeling. I have such a hard time trying to concentrate and stay focused, and dread the next episode. My biggest fear is shopping and having a really bad episode of this while I’m alone. I just found this website today and so glad I did.

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Shawn June 24, 2015 at 12:48 pm

I am relieved to know I am not alone when it comes to the dizzy spells. Mine seem to last 12-24 hours before I get any relief. After reading some of the posts I am realizing that I need to see if there is a pattern to when my dizzy spells happen. My last panel of blood work showed that I am in the normal ranges across the board but I KNOW something has changed with by body. I am 49 years old and I have been getting hot flashes, dizziness, etc. for about 2 years.

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Michelle June 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

So, not sure if perimenopaus is the culprit, but I too have been experiencing vertigo off and on for the last few months. I’m 47, clearly experiencing many symptoms of perimenopaus and this new one threw me for a loop (no pun intended). I went to my GP, he didn’t know what was going on, sent me to an ENT, and of course nothing going on with my ears, etc. Next step is to get an MRI, but now that I’ve read this and all of the comments, I’m pretty sure what’s going on. The veritgo is most severe just before, during and after my period. About a week after my period, it calms down and I have little episodes but not too bad. I’ve started using Progesterone cream and it seems to help a bit, but still feel like I’m on a boat and tipping over most of the time. Wondering from those of you who have suffered with this for a while, does it east up at all as you move through perimenopause into menopause at all. Don’t think I can live with this forever…

Thanks!

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Pickle June 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

What surprises me about this is how few of us have found any relief.
This morning I thought I was having a stroke. Then my husband reminded me that this had happened one time before- both times were the day before my period started. The first time it lasted a full 2 days: positional vertigo with intense sweating and feeling like I’m going to lose consciousness (also had nausea & diarrhea). This time it’s been about 9 hours and I can finally sit up without intense vertigo and sweating. (I’m on day 36 and have always had long cycles- should start any minute now.)
I missed my first day of work in over 5 years today, take no prescription medications, and am a weightlifter and generally healthy as a horse. I’m a nurse and as I’ve been researching this morning, am astounded at the little headway there has been to provide relief for these symptoms. I am bookmarking this page, so that when I do find some conclusive help, I’ll repost.

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Rosie June 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Hello ladies.
I’m 49 years old and I have had vertigo many years back. Today I woke up dizzy and nausea and called out of work. I also woke up with a very heavy menstrual cycle. My period has been kind of weird for a few months now. I know it’s that time for the change to be happening since my period is not regular however this symptom is the worst thing ever. I just took a meclizine because I have to go food shopping hopefully it will help and I get my shopping done and can return to my bed. I have a appt soon with my GYN doctor and I will see what her take will be on this. Vertigo is a nightmare.

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Susan Swick July 1, 2015 at 9:03 am

At 44 I am in perimenopause. I am experiencing frequent episodes of dizziness. They go away pretty quickly however they reoccur frequently
All day. I have missed two days of work behind these episodes as I run a saw and it is not safe

for me t o work like this. They are quite bothersome. Does anyone have any suggestions for me. Plz help.

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Deb July 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

It’s a relief to read this from other women. I have no “clinical” signs of menopause, all of my hormone levels are normal, exams normal, ultrasound normal.. but I stopped getting my period regularly and I’m getting terrible hot flashes and activity intolerance (example, I was mowing our lawn which I love to do, right away I felt my heart pound, got sweaty, pale and dizzy. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! I had to sit for an hour just to come back to normal… and days earlier mowed the grass without any problem at all) I am in great shape, not overweight. I do drink alcohol, but have found that one sip makes me completely drunk. It’s insane!! I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to predict myself/my body right now. I’m actually scared to go out for fear that I will faint or get way too drunk off of nothing! I’m trying to just accept this for what it is but it’s hard when there’s not a lot of help and most people don’t want to talk about it. I did find someone in the Twin Cities MN area that has a studio for Mayan Abdominal Therapy and she has done some abdominal massage and given me some at home exercises to do to help alleviate my symptoms so we will see how it goes, so far I think the Mayan practitioner will be most beneficial, best to handle these issues with
holistic approach.

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