Dizziness During Your Period: Don‘t Just Ignore It

There are several explanations as to why your menstrual period can give rise to dizziness.

Do you sometimes experience dizziness and wonder what might be causing it? If you are menstruating, the reason you feel dizzy may be related to your menstrual cycle.

Women have learned to expect — and deal with — certain period symptoms, like headaches, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, and fatigue. But one symptom that may be less common – and a little scary – is dizziness during your period.

Dizziness is a sensation that often makes people feel off balance like the room is spinning. You may notice these symptoms more intensely when getting up quickly from sitting or lying down and you may lose your balance.

This can be uncomfortable and a cause for concern. However, understanding some of the causes of this is a useful first step in managing your symptoms. Let us discuss some reasons why menstrual periods can cause dizziness and when you should worry about it.

Hormones...once again

There are several explanations as to why your menstrual period can give rise to dizziness.

Fluctuating hormones are what gives you your period in the first place, and they are thought to be responsible for many of the associated symptoms.

In the lead up to your period, estrogen and progesterone levels drop considerably. Changing levels of estrogen, in particular, are thought to potentially have effects on your circulation, neurotransmitters, blood vessels and your blood pressure; all of which can affect your balance.

Very painful periods could make you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Some people have a better tolerance to pain than others and the root cause of the painful period, such as excess prostaglandins, could also affect your head.

Prostaglandins initiate the contractions of the smooth muscles of the uterus wall to give you your period and are therefore often responsible for the period cramp.

Prostaglandins can diffuse out of the womb, into surrounding areas and even into your bloodstream. If prostaglandins circulate and eventually reach your head, they can give rise to headaches or dizziness.

Some women may experience a few seconds of dizziness when they get a rather painful cramp, which is "ok" according to gynecologists. In the same time that we are feeling our uterus contract, we can have a secondary reaction that can feel like a short amount of dizziness, they explain.

So if you get dizzy every once in a while, and it only lasts a couple of seconds, you shouldn’t worry too much — though it doesn’t hurt to mention it to your doctor the next time you go for a check-up.

Heavy periods are to blame

Heavy periods could contribute to feelings of dizziness.

Firstly, particularly heavy periods could result in temporary changes in your blood pressure. Losing blood quickly can cause a drop in blood pressure which can make you feel lightheaded.

Very heavy periods could also result in anemia. Anemia can affect the oxygen saturation of your blood and if blood going to the brain is lower in oxygen than normal you can feel dizzy as a result of this.

Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn't produce enough red blood cells to adequately distribute oxygen throughout the body. A person with anemia may also experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and shortness of breath – symptoms that could worsen as a woman loses blood during her period.

Heavy periods could also be a sign of uterine fibroids. With fibroids you are more likely to suffer from heavy periods every month, which puts you at a greater risk of anemia.

Other symptoms of your period could be indirectly contributing to your feelings of dizziness. For example, lack of sleep or mood swings. If you are suffering from a lack of sleep as a result of particularly heavy or painful periods, you may find you experience spells of feeling light-headed the next day.

Certain mood swings can also affect your balance, for example, if you suffer from an anxiety attack. Anxiety can exert physical effects on the body and feeling dizzy could be a result of this.

When to see your doctor

While not totally uncommon, experiencing dizziness during your period is considered an unusual symptom, experts say. Unfortunately, they note that because women normalize a lot of their menstrual symptoms, something like this might go ignored when it shouldn't.

Experts agree that occasional dizziness during your period isn't necessarily a cause for concern.

Fortunately, most instances of dizziness resolve themselves without medical intervention. However, if you experience dizziness often, contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Especially if you're experiencing near-constant dizziness, exhaustion, and excessive bleeding during your period or bleeding between your periods, ask your doctor about abnormal uterine bleeding. In order to make a diagnosis, your gynecologist will order a blood count, measure your hormone levels, and do a transvaginal ultrasound.

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