Foggy Thinking

Post image for Dear Magnolia…..about that Vertigo & Dizziness in Perimenopause

It’s time for another “Dear Magnolia” installment.  I picked a comment by a reader by the name of “Michelle” for this post.

Michelle has been having trouble with vertigo and dizziness in perimenopause, along with balance issues, brain fog, and feeling spaced out.  She said she also suffers with migraines and wacky periods.

Typical perimenopause experience if you ask me!

Here are Michelle’s question(s). Find my answer below.

Michelle

Dear Magnolia,

I was wondering if the vertigo and dizziness (and all other symptoms) being constant; all day everyday with breaks here and there is normal or can be considered perimenopause?

I just made 47 last week and have had this dizziness/vertigo, balance issue with extreme brain fog, spaced out (like ADD on steroids) since mid March on a almost constant basis, meaning everyday, all day with a few breaks here and there.

I’ve also had anxiety, migraine auras without the headache. This all began in March with a lighter period that went a little lighter from the usual heavy clotting I have. It’s been slightly lighter since March.

I began symptoms 4 years ago at 43 years of age with the onset of hemorrhage like clots that evened out to heavy clotting. Over the last few years on and off I get numbness and tingling.

I can only assume this is hormones fluctuating and now I guess its not evening out. I just want to know if constant day in, day out symptoms is normal?

 

Magnolia

Dear Michelle,

First, let me address your last question……”are constant day in and day out symptoms normal?”  And the answer is yes.  It is very normal.

Unfortunately, the dizziness and vertigo symptoms that many women suffer with during perimenopause is not something that most physicians are acquainted with.

A number of years ago I did a little research on the topic and found that some physicians will at least nod to the fact that for some women dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of perimenopause.  What they don’t spend a lot of time discussing is what actually causes it.

But here’s a fact: Dizziness and vertigo is very common in perimenopause.

When I had my last serious episode with it I landed in the ER convinced I was having a stroke.  After CAT scans and MRIs to rule that out, I was referred to an ENT.

He did a basic battery of tests and essentially shrugged his shoulders.  What else is new, right?

He prescribed Meclizine for me to take as needed.  It really did help.  When I felt an episode coming on, I took some and it helped me get through it.  He gave me a phamphlet which outlined a series of exercises.  To be honest, I never did them.  I do’t do well deciphering pictures.  So, I did a little armchair research and found some exercises on Youtube.

Check out this video for an excellent visual presentation of exercises you can do.

Once I became fully menopausal I no longer had issues with vertigo or dizziness.  So my advice to you would be to hang on (literally!), because it does pass once you get through the more raucous symptoms of perimenopause and closer to actual menopause.

Loss of balance is also a symptom that women in perimenopause experience.  Of course, it could easily be associated with vertigo and dizziness.

Brain fog is associated with fluctuating estrogen levels.  Primarily low estrogen.  It is also associated with thyroid dysfunction (generally low thyroid function) as well.

In fact, dizziness and vertigo has also been attributed to thyroid dysfunction.   It should also be said that many, many women have issues with their thyroid when they start going through perimenopause, which could be why so many also suffer with dizziness and vertigo.

Just a thought.

Anxiety during perimenopause can be associated with a number of things.  It can be associated with low progesterone (and/or high estrogen) levels.

Anxiety can also associated with adrenal fatigue and yes, once again, thyroid dysfunction.  High cortisol levels (common in adrenal fatigue) can be the culprit for anxiety, feelings of doom & dread, and heart palpitations during perimenopause.

For some excellent information on adrenal fatigue and how it affects women in perimenopause, please do check out Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, The Wisdom of Menopause.   It is a very large book which covers many topics during perimenopause, but she does an excellent job in breaking down the physiology and biology of perimenopause, adrenal fatigue and many other issues women struggle with during perimenopause.

I hope this helps Michelle, and answers your questions.  Thanks for commenting!

Magnolia

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