Definitely one of the least talked about symptoms of the menopause is dizziness! However, Food Scientist and Nutritional Therapist Susie Debice explains that dizziness, nausea, feeling lightheaded, woozy and a spinning or whirling sensation are all commonly experienced symptoms of the menopause.
Firstly, take a trip to your Doctor so you can get your blood sugar and blood pressure checked and also rule out ear infection since these factors are also associated with dizziness and easily treated by your GP. If this detective work draws a blank, then it’s more than likely your menopause is putting you into a spin! In fact, all these symptoms, even if experienced in a mild form, could simply be triggered by a hot flush. But there are also other menopausal factors to consider…
Ever get the feeling that you’re not coping in stressful situations as well as you used to? It’s normal for menopausal women to quickly become overwhelmed in circumstances that you would normally be able to maintain composure and clarity. Plummeting levels of hormones could be undermining your stress response, meaning stress and anxiety can quickly escalate during the menopause. If you are not familiar with anxiety then you may not make the link to the physical symptoms that often appear when your body is in a heightened state of alarm of panic. These could include a sensation of disorientation, spinning and difficulty breathing which together create an overriding sensation of dizziness and nausea. Taking steps to ease your stress and lighten your schedule could help alleviate some of these symptoms.
Go with the flow
Oestrogen and progesterone have many physiological roles aside from overseeing your fertility. Cell receptors (docking bays) for these two hormones have been found on muscle cells in the heart and on the cells that line the walls of arteries, veins and capillaries. As hormone levels fluctuate during the menopause this is thought to impact the cardiovascular system, disrupting blood pressure and tightening down the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. The result – episodes of light-headedness, dizziness and feeling faint. Other signs of poor circulation include various veins, cold hands and feet, headaches and poor concentration.
Iron is an important component of red blood cells and plays a role in helping transport oxygen around the body, delivering this energising nutrient to cells and the brain where it’s needed for energy and metabolism. Being anaemic, not having enough iron in your red blood cells, is associated with symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, dizziness, feeling faint and low energy. If you are suffering from heavier than normal periods as a result of your menopause then you could easily become anaemic. Supplementing with a gentle on the gut form of iron such as Iron bisglycinate is advisable and foods naturally rich in iron include liver, red meat, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
Graze your way through the day
Dip in blood sugar can leave us all feeling woozy and flagging in energy. Leaving long gaps between meals could make it especially challenging for your body to maintain normal blood sugar balance. Once your blood sugar plummets those cravings for sugary and starchy foods start to kick in. Starting your day with an oat-based cereal or porridge may help support your blood sugar balance across the morning and including complex carbs (wholegrains, lentils, pulses) with protein (fish, eggs, meat, tofu) at your main meals has also been shown to aid blood sugar management. Gazing in-between meals on raw veg sticks and hummus, fresh fruit and nuts or oat cake and turkey slice helps to prevent those blood sugar crashes that tend to trigger your menopausal dizziness.