Dear Magnolia…..about that Vertigo & Dizziness in Perimenopause

by Magnolia on August 2, 2014

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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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{ 11 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!

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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!

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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

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Isla September 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

Sarah,
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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Cassie August 7, 2014 at 9:56 pm

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

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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.

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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.

Magnolia

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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!

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