Fed up of standing up and immediately feeling like you’re going to fall over?
These wibbly, wobbly, weak moments seem to have come out of nowhere. Is this a normal part of getting older? Will you ever be steady on your feet again?
You’re not alone. Many women report feeling off-balance as their bodies start changing.
But what causes dizziness during the menopause? Well the truth is, no one knows exactly. There are a few different theories from researchers, although some put it down to the simple fact we’re getting older.
Others suspect it’s the role our hormones play in balancing our blood sugar levels. It’s thought that big fluctuations, especially in the perimenopause, may affect the body’s response to insulin, which can in turn lead to dizziness.
Another theory is that it’s down to your inner ears – the part of your body that’s critical to balance. Some women report stability issues and uncomfortable sinuses before their period, so it’s possible hormonal changes during the perimenopause and menopause may affect your ears too.
Finally, some scientists think that it could be to do with oestrogen affecting our cardiovascular and nervous systems. It’s especially important to watch out for fatigue during menopause as if you've exhausted these will likely be out of whack.
Wondering how to deal with menopause dizziness? We’ve got a few ideas to help you stay steady on your feet.
Chin up, ladies. We’ve got this.
LAUNCH A SNACK-ATTACK
Some good news at last. That’s right, eating at regular intervals can help keep your blood sugars nice and level, reducing dizzy spells.
This doesn’t mean you shovel a jam doughnut down your neck every couple of hours. Choose high-protein nibbles instead, like nuts, yoghurt and healthy snack bars made from natural ingredients.
BELIEVE THE H2O HYPE
Dehydration = dizziness. Make sure you drink at least two litres of water across your day and reduce your caffeine intake too. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more.
Swap regular tea and coffee for caffeine-free or fruit versions, and if you’re not keen on water buy some sugar-free squash to mix in.
When you do go to the loo, your pee should be almost free of colour and not smell strongly. The opposite is a sure sign you’ve not got enough of the good stuff in your system.
TALK TO YOUR GP ABOUT HRT
Hormone Replacement Therapy – HRT for short – essentially does what it says on the tin. It replaces the hormones that your body is naturally losing due to the menopause, helping reduce your symptoms, including changes to your sex drive.
There are a number of ways you can take HRT medications, including tablets, patches and creams. Most women can take HRT but there are some risks, which your doctor should discuss with you.
SLOW DOWN YOUR MOVEMENTS
Make sure you stand up slowly after you’ve been sitting or laying down. This will help your body get used to its new upright position without everything going white and woozy, because your inner ears and blood will have the opportunity to adjust.
If you live with other people, let them know if the doorbell goes or the phone rings, they can help you out by going to get it.
Reducing your obligations might mean some difficult decisions, but ones that ultimately bene t you and your wellbeing in the long run.
If you think your dizzy spells are linked to anxiety
or low mood, you may want to think about booking
a session with a talking therapist like a counsellor. Speaking to someone outside your social circle can help you gain some perspective on what’s making you feel overwhelmed.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT SOMEONE THEY THINK MAY BE ENTERING OR IN MENOPAUSE
The bad news is that you can’t stop someone from experiencing menopausal wooziness. The good news is that you can help them deal with it using these top tips.
OUR ADVICE TO THEM
In terms of self-care, we’ve recommended that they stay well hydrated and nibbles on high-protein foods to keep their blood sugar and balance steady.
Reducing their obligations and stress may help too, particularly if their dizziness is linked to anxiety or low mood. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may also alleviate her symptoms.
MAKE THEM COMFY
If they're having a dizzy spell, is there anything you can do to make them more physically comfortable?
It could be as simple as opening a window, getting them a glass of water or letting them stretch out on the sofa. What do they need? Why don’t you ask them?
The last thing someone needs when they’re dealing with dizziness is for someone to draw attention to it by exclaiming loudly in public: “Not so steady on your feet today, are you?!”
Instead, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help before any social situations. And please, don’t try to lighten the mood by making a joke about it. They might put on a brave face, but nine times out of 10 it’s not funny for them.
GO WITH THE FLOW
You might notice their dizziness often strikes at times when you’ve got plans. The truth is going to social events may be more stressful than usual, as the pressure of keeping up appearances when you’re not feeling like yourself is hard work.
Be prepared for plans to change at short notice and try not to put her under any pressure, even if it means you are missing out as well.
CREATE BREATHING SPACE
No, we’re not saying leave them alone. We mean actually breathe together.
Slow, deep breaths initiate the parasympathetic nervous system, which has a calming effect and can improve dizzy spells. Taking time together to practice and improve your breathing means you’re more likely to keep up with it.
Yoga and meditation are both great, and there are loads of ‘how to’ videos and mindfulness apps which mean you can practice from the comfort of your living room.
If you’re worried about dizziness, you should see your GP who can discuss your symptoms in the context of the menopause.
If you'd like more information, we have put some further references below for you: