Dear Magnolia…..About That Vertigo & Dizziness in Perimenopause

by Magnolia on August 2, 2014

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.


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?



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!


No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post)

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie August 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

I hope you feel better soon, Michelle. Daily vertigo sounds tough! I’m sure it makes it hard to do what you need to do when you’re feeling so off. I am struggling with anxiety which, and I’m barely getting through some days. I’m looking forward to reading Dr. Northrup’s book. Take care and best wishes!


Valerie August 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Your story is my story Michelle. I’m in the peri menopause stage. I’ve had Vertigo for over a year now and ended up seeing a Vertigo therapist to help retrain eyes and regain sense of balance. I’m doing better now as it’s not constant but still experience it each day. I also found a product at Walgreens called “Vertigo”. It’s a natural remedy you roll on the back of you’re neck during a Vertigo moment and it’s helped me by relieving the symptoms quickly. Take care!


Sarah August 4, 2014 at 10:41 am

Hi I too have had vertigo and dizziness for almost 2 years now. I had a partial hyst (kept ovaries) in Nov 2010. In Oct of 2012 I had my first spell of dizziness. It was so bad I couldnt even walk to the other room and missed a week of work. I couldnt walk without feeling like I was going to fall over. I went to an ENT who did every test possible but said nothing was wrong! I had no other symptoms and felt find other than dizziness/vertigo! I was finally refered to a chiropractor by a friend and that seemed to help, at least make it bareable so I was t falling over. I have since been put on Zyrtec D everyday to help with it, as doctor swore it was sinus issues. I have also been put on Zoloft and even with both meds I still have regulat bouts of diziness and I was beginning to think I needed to see a neurologist because nothing treats it! I take the zoloft because of mood swings. Without it I have perimenopause Rage and I am just grouchy/hateful all the time. This is not me. With the zoloft I am happy and feel like me (still vertigo every day). So I am torn because with zoloft I feel happy but it makes me gain weight amd I am only 5′ tall and already gained 25 pounds after my hsy and I can not afford to gain anymore. Noatrer what I do I cant lose weight since my hyst. I am just at a loss here. I hate taking the depression meds daily, and I cant take much more of the vertigo every day on and off. I too was given meclizine and it does help but it makes me drowsy so I can only take at night. Nobody in my family has had a hysterectomy no dealt with perimeopause. My GP (gen practitioner) just guves me new meds, wants to switch me from zoloft to wellbutrin for weight gain, but I just dont want to be on a depression med. She doesn’t know anything about perimenopause. I tried a birth control pill with progestin/estrogen and I gained 6 pounds in a week so I went off that, lost the 6 pounds 2 days after going off it. So that has me totally scared of hormones and I just dont know what to do but I need help. She did want to put me on generic edtradiol but I never started it because I am afraid of it. I bought bio ident progesterone cream a week ago and been using twice everyday and I dont feel any help from that at all! Please help. Any advice is greatly appreciated as I habe no one else to talk to about these issues. Everyone else just thinks they are in my head.
Thanks Sarah


Isla September 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

Every woman with these awful symptoms can relate to your frustration. We go to doctor after doctor with nothing but pills thrown at us and told all tests are normal so it’s must be in your head. A huge help to me was every day writing my symptoms down, food intake, my feelings, and bathroom habits. I started with day 1 as first day of period starting going though the month until last day before next period, then start next cycle writing. What happened is finally, of writing it out I saw the pattern, my Doctor saw the pattern and I was able to adjust my diet, adding or subtracting specific vitamins and minerals, add soy milk for just a few days, end sugar or caffeine other days to weeks and enjoyed Raspberry leaf tea or chamomile tea during anxious days. It was shocking that on the same days month after month I had the SAME symptoms. That can not be in your head, it can only be your cycle and hormones. Understanding this helped my anxiety, dizziness, hot flashes, insomnia, heart palpitations, and panic. It also helped me to lose weight by changing little things and helping myself to heal through healthy food and choices specific to my symptom days. I am also going to get Dr. Northrop’s book, all knowledge is power during Peri-menopause. I have a homeopathic doctor whom understands a woman’s time of change. Google in your town and find a doctor who understands Peri-menopause, you deserve to feel well and not suffer everyday because of fluctuating hormones. Know you are not alone, you can find relief!


Sharon August 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Thank you so much for the article about anxiety/panic. I have been suffering from this and was convinced either I am crazy or have a brain tumor! I have had blood tests, stress tests, test for seizures – all good. I am only 51 and hope this “wonderful” time if my life will sail on!


sandra van nostrand August 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

I have definitely decided that I must have a brain tumor. I am dizzy and light headed 90% of my day and my fingers and toes feel “crawly” all the time like some kind of neuropathy. horrible anxiety and insomnia. just started Zoloft 50mg but think I am going to have to up the dose. this is crap. ALL of my symptoms started when they took me off the bc pill that i took for 23 years with NO problems. I was probably already IN perimenopause but it was masked by the pill. so I was basically thrown right into it. I hate this.


Vicky October 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Check your vitamin B12 levels. I don’t adsorb anymore and those were the symptoms I had before finding out that my levels were right outside the normal range, which is 150-900. B12 is needed for DNA repair, the mylin sheath around the nerves and for red blood cell manufacture. It’s quite common that as we age, our stomachs don’t make as much of the Intrinsic Factor, which is required to absorb the B12 from our stomach contents.

As for every bodies vertigo, that depends on where it is originating from.. the inner ears or the brain. Another problem I have been plagued with since my late 20’s and I’m not 44 years old. Mine is definitely inner ear, as there is ringing in the ears, which go louder as the more vertigo is experienced. Also there is ear pressure or fullness experienced. And hearing loss can be experienced for those that have what is called Meniere’s. So far knock on wood, I haven’t lost too much hearing. These are all signs that it’s an inner ear disorder. Also drinking caffeine, or excess salt will bring on vertigo attacks. I think for most people that have a vertigo attacks based on how they move have “Benign Positional vertigo”, which is the most common form. It has to do with crystals in the inner ear canals that move around and send confused signals to the brain. All other forms of vertigo are stemming from the brain, which is not my expertise. I have found getting rid of caffeine really helps, especially when my vertigo is acting up. And Serc (betahistine) is excellent for controlling symptoms :)


DElise November 5, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Problem is, getting Serc here in the US. My ENT insists it is BPPV based on a vertigo (spinning) and nystagmus reaction during Dix Hallpike. THAT said, mine is definitely NOT positional. Like today? I am constantly off balance… light headed but not spinning. There’s no specific motion that sets it off or whatever. Time of month? Yes. And the reaction she invoked, I’ve experienced the same exact thing back in 2006 after they put in a spinal to do a C-section. Exact same feeling.. except that time I actually threw up numerous times, I managed to keep it in this time. Back in ’06? I’d been on bedrest, in a hospital bed, in the hospital, for 6 weeks. No falls, no injuries, no nothing. I tend to doubt it was BPPV then.. or now.

Anyway, I ramble.. as I’m out of it today.. Day 15 and I’m all kinds of out of whack! Anyway, serc isn’t available here in the US. And my ENT won’t prescribe it so I can go to a compounding pharmacy because they insist it’s not necessary. So I have a stash of meclizine.. and debating trying to buy Serc from an online pharmacy..


Sue January 25, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Hi Sandra Von Nostrand
After reading thru a lot of post’s, I can sure understand your post. Not sure you’re aware of this but taking bcp, is the same as taking HRT, NOT good for you. You say you took bcp for 23 years with no problems. None that you’re aware of. They’re VERY BAD for Women. My mother ALWAYS told her girls 2 things to NEVER EVER FORGET.
1. Never take BCP.
2. NEVER take HRT. None my Sisters including myself never did. I too have terrible Dizziness/lightheadedness, it’s debilitating when it happens, thank God its not often for me. I too have drove myself crazy worrying about what serious disease I must have. Remember mind over matter. I also have had in the beginning more then now heart palpitations, which are terrifying as well, thinking something bad happened to my heart. I’m 51 now still have period every month, though they come a few days sooner. Doctors do not try to “get it” if they can’t make $$$ on prescriptions, they can’t help. Try googling Wray Whyte. Wray is amazing she explains EVERYTHING about hormones to a T, Best advice/info, I’ve came across. Make sure you get Vitamin B100 Complex, also a good multivitamin for Women your age, I find Simply one Woman’s 1 a day are AMAZING.
Take care Sue


Cassie August 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hi Ladies~
I just purchased the book The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup. Perhaps it was recommended by Magnolia, since she is my guiding light these days (Thank you, Magnolia!) There is a ton of information on all topics related to perimenopause/menopause. Lots of scientific explanations with ideas for supplements, diet and lifestyle changes, etc. I don’t think I agree with everything I’ve read, but it’s nice to feel like someone understands what you’re going through. I’m 41 with an autoimmune disease, so I think I’m trying to prepare for a long “road of discovery and perseverance” as I go through this transition. For what it’s worth…. Wishing you all health and well-being.


Cassie August 7, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Yes, I see that this book was recommended in this very post- doh! 😉


Michelle August 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Magnolia, thanks so much for answering my questions. I do appreciate it greatly. I am feeling better than I have been but still not 100% but definitely better. I will get the book you recommend.

What I find odd is I believe since my teen years I have always had some type of hormonal imbalance thing although I have had text book, like clock work cycles and I am (or was) fertile as heck (mother of 6). Since a teen would get very hot face and neck flushes when nervous or with an adrenal rush. I still get them so if I am having hot flashes I can not discern seeing how I am so use to having them anyway. What’s strange is my blood pressure has come down and is in the normal range as opposed to the slighter higher range it stayed at for the last several years.

I do realize now that I had/have a general anxiety disorder that explains the hot flushes that are anxiety related. The anxiety that is prevalent with Peri does not register with me because I have lived with anxiety/irritability my whole life. *To me* that’s normal. The one thing I haven’t suffered with is depression and even now that’s not really an issue for me. So hmmmm. Docs do want to say the dizziness, fogginess is more anxiety but both psychologist and gyno say peri can cause this as well. I did take Buspar for 6 weeks and that worsened my moods so I stopped. I’m just going to have to wait and see where this roller coaster takes me this time. Thanks again. God bless all and take care.


Magnolia August 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

You’re welcome, Michelle. I’ve started doing the “Dear Magnolia” series to answer questions because I get so many from people that it’s hard for me to keep up with them.

I chose yours because it is representative of what a lot of other women go through too.



ila sterling September 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I am so happy for this website. Now I know that all the symptoms I have been having for months now are due to peri-menopause! I have been going to ER and many doctors and doing many many tests and every thing comes back normal!


Jennie October 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Im so happy to have found this post and comments by other woman. I have felt like I was loosing my mind for months! Dizziness and anxiety especially for driving. Ive had Ct,MRI ect Its been a year! 6 months ago I went to a naturalist and did saliva test. It showed my hormones basically crashed yet my bloodworm said I was within normal range. I Just had another blood test 2 weeks ago and it finally shows something! I also have had migraines since a young child and now have been told I have migraine with vertigo & BPPV. I keep track of everything. Migraines and vertigo attacks seem to be every 21-29 days with regular migraines in-between. I do not have a period as i had uterine ablation 6 years ago. Someone tell me there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Ive cancelled family vacations, found drivers for my kids to soccer, and basically don’t want to leave the house. I never thought Id feel this way.


Linda September 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Jennie, you have written my story!! Aside from the fact that I have not had a period in almost 8 months and do not suffer from migraines (headaches occasionally, yes) I am living your life! My anxiety and Vertigo have controlled me for about 4 years now. It makes me sad to think of all of fun my family and I miss out on because of my fears! I used to be outgoing and social, not so much anymore. While I’m grateful to know that I’m not alone, I don’t wish this life on anyone……


Tammy Greenwood June 24, 2015 at 6:57 pm

I am so relieved I found this site and this article. I have been suffering from dizziness and vertigo for nearly 6 months. I am 52 years old and just beginning to have irregular periods. I was diagnosed as being in peri-menopause last year and have been using progesterone cream for severe anxiety. It helped in the beginning but doesn’t seem to help as much now. My estradiol levels are still very high in day 3 of my cycle. I have mitral valve prolapse and my palpitations have increased during this period. So high anxiety, palpitations, shaky, dizziness, low blood pressure and dozens of trips to heart doctors, general doctors and my gynecologist…oh and I can’t forget the emergency room trips. The general diagnosis seems to be hormones but it is very difficult not to think something is going horribly wrong. So I just keep reaching out and reading these articles and getting much relief knowing their are others like me. I also wonder if my infertility plays any role in what seem extreme symptoms. I know the stress of impending menopause with no children has been an added stressor. I am staying hopeful and reading LOTS of books. I hope I can soon find some relief in this awful cycle.


Jan August 6, 2015 at 12:19 am

I found this website while researching the Replenish Clinical Trial Study for hot flashes and night sweats. I was taking a biotin supplement and it caused hot flashes and night sweats. I saw on line where this is common with women who are 65. So I am considering the Replenish Clinical Trial Study. I was on my cell phone and I wanted to add my message to a blog; however, I cannot find it on my computer. The blog was referring to people who had given up and one message was hopeful to say that one will live thru this menopause phase. First maybe I am shallow. I am an exceptional menopausal 65 year old. I am 5’5” and weigh between 122 to 125. I color my hair burgundy and this fall I will go with a Loreal Violet color. I have no facial wrinkles but I have lines on my neck and my natural 50% gray hair is long and full. I wear 4 to 5 inch heels most of the time. I keep myself up and I do not spend a lot of money to do this. I have great genes. I have been too busy to think about menopause. My job requires me to make 30 outside sales calls a day. I am the oldest at my company and I am keeping up with the younger people physically and intelligently. What I am saying here is to live your life. Yes I am old, not married, and loving my existence. Focus on something good and there is no reason to look run down. When you look better you feel better. When my son moved out 20 years ago I was so happy. I never thought I would be dating men my sons age of which is 16 years younger. I want to date men my age but they do not bite. So I just live on and I am listed on dating websites to meet older men.


Magnolia August 6, 2015 at 8:22 am


It’s so nice to read your story. I agree with you. We must seize life and live on. My youngest is 2 years from moving out and on to college. That will make me a real, bonafide empty nester. I am divorced and have no plans to date or remarry. I have decided to fill my life with things I love: gardening, reading, writing, walking, spending time in the bible, my graduate studies and research, developing my relationship with God, movies, sewing, my animals, and in any other way I wish.

I find great joy in those things and though I do still grieve over the loss of my marriage a couple of years ago, I’ve definitely accepted and I’m moving on. Life can be a joy at this age.

Thanks for sharing your story here.



She-RA! November 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Just stumbled across this whilst doing a (monthly) quick check on how long I have to go in perimenopause!!!!!! 😀 Still can’t find the answer! Oh well!

I woke up one morning 7 years ago with vertigo/dizziness which quickly turned into anxiety. I was only 32 when it all began for me. Women in my family usually have menopause by the time they reach early 40’s, (did I mention that I can’t wait for menopause!!!). I thought I’d share my story in the hope that it might help some of you – I know i could have done with some help when it all began for me, it was scary and changed my life over night. Worse for me as that I had no idea what was happening to me (my mother never shared her experiences with me, so I was taken by surprise, to say the least!).

I was dizzy for about 6 months solid, nearly every day. I was in and out of doctor surgeries where they shrugged their shoulders and sent me home empty handed. I thought for months that it was my ears and so spent a fortune on ear candles and having my ears syringed! I think the dizziness got a bit better when I realised it was related to anxiety; I began learning relaxing techniques and took better care of myself which alleviated the problem a little. I say a “little”, at the time I felt tons better but NOW I look back and realise that I just learned to cope better with it. The next 5 years were a huge struggle for me, the dizziness turned into anxiety, endless headaches, migraines, raging moods, crying all the time, heart palpatations (that scared the hell out of me!), tiredness like I’ve never felt before, proper panic attacks and as of 3 years ago the onset of hot flashes (gosh those are fun when you’re in a meeting with your boss?!!) My dizziness did almost disappear eventually and i think it was after around 1 year or so, but for me was replaced with horrible sicky migraines and anxiety, (between you and I, I think I prefer the migraines to being dizzy!!)

I’m still in perimenopause – 7 years on. My periods are all over the place for me – I’ve been charting for 3 years now! They can be anything from 25-32 days in length (never the same) and over the last 5 months or so they’ve been more on the shorter side and much lighter. My general wellbeing is MUCH better these days however. I don’t get half the symptoms I did 2 years ago, I still get sicky migraines twice a month, they are definitely hormone related, but they’re so much more bearable now,last half the time they did and i’m actually able to carry on with life. Not end up in bed for 3 days like I did before!

2 years ago is the key here ladies… it’s when I began a Paleo diet/lifestyle and i have to say that within 2 weeks of changing the way I ate and the majority of those niggling symptoms completely disappeared! The rest is more of a learning curve, each month I manage to get rid of another symptom through learning to live a more stress free life and taking up light exercise. I’m not going to give you all the know-how here – you can google it, there are some amazing bits of research about it and how it can help allieviate these symptoms, but if you feel anything like I did, you’ll be grabbing at anything to get rid of the dizzies and all the other horrible symptoms! So might be worth a shot? I also began using magneisum oil daily – spray onto soles of feet at bed time as this is where you absorb best (tablet form of magneisum are ejected quickly from the body, but the oil spray slowly gets absorbed into the body). Another must is a good probiotic (not the yogurty drinky kind because they contain sugar which actually kills the good bacteria, instead go and get some in capsule form from Holland and Barrett or your local health store).

I read once that we should hang on tight at this time of life.. it’s a crazy journey but once we get on the other side, we’ll be right as rain again. I for one, am looking forward getting out the other side. I still get really irritable and will be more than pleased to get rid of migraines entirely. Feeling balanced and calm once again will happen for us all. Now, I’m pretty sure I read that peri is on average 4-6 years… I must be nearly there, surely! :-) xx


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: