Ask Dr. JoAnn Manson: Is Dizziness a Symptom of Menopause?

Q: I am a 50-year-old female going through menopause. I had a complete hysterectomy and have been on HRT since then. I have been having dizzy spells and have had a complete checkup. I've heard that dizziness can be a part of menopause — is this true? Why is this, and what can I do to stop the dizziness?
— Deb, Michigan
Dr. JoAnn Manson - Menopause Center A:  Dizziness, which wasn't previously talked about as a menopausal symptom, has more recently been found to be associated with menopause. Symptoms such as dizziness and nausea, not traditionally considered menopausal symptoms, have been reported by some women to increase after menopause. However, the link between dizziness and menopause (and dizziness and hormone therapy, for that matter) hasn't been well studied, and only a weak association has been found so far. Because there isn't a strong association, such as with hot flashes and night sweats, you can't assume the dizziness is related to menopause. If this is a new symptom for you, you should see your doctor and have it evaluated because it may be due to some other cause.

Assuming no other cause is found and your dizziness is mild and tolerable, the symptom is probably not dangerous and you don't need to do much. You can consider some lifestyle changes: For example, be sure to stay well hydrated and get enough sleep — being dehydrated and not sleeping enough can worsen dizziness. Also, be careful when rising from a lying to a standing position. Another thing to consider is whether you've started taking any new medication, prescription or over-the-counter. Blood pressure medications, for example, can cause light-headedness and dizziness.
However, if your dizziness is severe, continuing, or a true room-spinning vertigo, be sure to seek further evaluation, especially if it's worsening. You shouldn't assume that such a symptom is related to menopause.

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