Eileen answers your questions on headaches and dizziness

Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

29 February 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A. Vogel Talks Menopause, I’ve got two very commonly asked questions, but they’re not often associated with the menopause. So we’re going to look at headaches and dizziness.

Question 1: Headaches

So the first question is from Margaret. Hello, Margaret. I do know that you watch the A. Vogel’s Menopause Mondays, so it’s nice that you’ve actually sent in a question, thank you. And Margaret is asking about menopause headaches, and she wants to know what’s causing them and what she can do to help herself. Now, the most important thing about headaches is if you are getting them on a daily basis, if they are really severe, if they are causing changes to your quality of life, if you’re having to take painkillers, then it’s really important to get those checked out by your doctor, just to make sure there is no other underlying cause.

Menopausal headaches can be caused by lots of different things, so I’m just going to mention a few of them. The first one is our falling oestrogen can make us much more anxious, much more tense. We can get those muscle aches and pains. We can get very fatigued. And those things can actually trigger what we would call tension headaches, and you may find you start to get those roughly at the same time every day. We’ve also got the problem of, believe it or not, dehydration. Are you drinking enough water? And headaches and hot flushes, or night sweats, will often go together. If you get really dehydrated because of the sweats, that can then trigger the headaches as well.

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Low blood sugar levels

We’ve also got low blood sugar levels, and we know that falling oestrogen can make sugar digestion much more sensitive. So have a look at your diet. Watch that you’re not taking too many high-sugar foods. Also, watch that you are eating properly. You’re having good regular meal and having those snacks in between meals as well.

So look at things that are going to balance your blood sugar levels, like nuts and seeds, and dried fruits, and maybe a plain yoghurt or even something like a pear or an apple can be very, very helpful.

So if you’re getting these headaches regularly, have a good look at your general lifestyle. Are you getting stressed? Are you running about again? And as I say, check your diet, too, just to make sure that you’re getting all the right nutrients as well.

Low magnesium

Now, one of the big factors, and we’ve talked about this before, is low magnesium in the menopause. And low magnesium will trigger headaches as well. So try and take some kind of magnesium supplement. Also, sort of related can be migraines as well. A lot of women find, during the menopause, that they start to actually get really, really horrible migraines. There has been quite a lot of studies done on magnesium and migraines, so maybe do a little bit of Googling, have a look at the research, and maybe try a good magnesium supplement for that as well.

Question 2: Dizziness

Now, the second question is about dizziness. And this is from Sherithea, and she’s 51, and she’s from South Africa. And it’s lovely we’re getting so many ladies who are watching the A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays from all around the world. So welcome, everyone.

Now, she has been asking, “I have suffered from severe dizziness since starting the menopause. Has this anything to do with the menopause, and if so, what can I do?” Dizziness and headaches can very often go together, so you would look at the same situations. Are you getting plenty of water? Are you still dehydrated? A lot of women find they’ll actually get dizzy when they’re getting a hot flush, as well. So that can be a good indication that you’re needing some extra water. We also know that dizziness can be caused by low blood sugar levels, so again, check that you’re eating properly, check that you’re not having too many gaps in between meals, and supplement with those nice, healthy snacks.

Low blood pressure

The other thing that it can be, as well, is low blood pressure. Now, unfortunately, during the menopause, your blood pressure can fluctuate quite a lot. So if you find, especially if maybe you bend down to pick something up, when you stand up, you get a bit lightheaded or if you find that you’re getting out a hot bath and you start to think, “Whew, I’m just getting a little bit dizzy.” Very often, that can indicate low blood pressure, so it’s really important to get that checked out by your doctor because low, low blood pressure can actually be quite serious.

Low iron or anaemia

The other thing that can cause dizziness is low iron, or anaemia. Now, if you’re in the peri-menopause leading up to the menopause, or you’re in the menopause and you’re having or have had those really heavy periods, the prolonged periods, the very frequent periods, all this bleeding can actually cause low iron, which in turn can cause dizziness.

Now, even if your heavy periods were a couple of years ago, unless you actually supplemented then with some kind of iron, you could have been low in iron in all this time. And as your hormonal changes start to progress, that can make you even more sensitive, and that can then trigger the dizziness as well. So do look out for these things, and hopefully that will help you a little bit more.

Until next week...

Now, I hope these answered all your questions. Please send more in. We’re always pleased to get different questions on different topics in the menopause. So, I look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, when I’m going to be talking about that itchy skin.

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