Can Your Menstrual Cycle Cause Dizziness?

The primary symptom of menstruation is menstrual bleeding. However, sometime it can be followed with other symptoms such as mood swing, fatigue, digestive problems (such as abdominal bloating, constipation, or diarrhea), pelvic /lower abdominal cramps, or headache. These symptoms may occur before, during, and few days after menstruation. Some women may also experience dizziness. There are some reasons why menstrual cycle can cause dizziness.

In general, how do you get dizziness?

Dizziness is not a kind of disease. Instead, medically it is often referred to as a symptom. It can be a vague symptom of mild or serious health problems.

Fortunately, many times it can go away on its own without medical intervention. In other words, it is often considered as mild problem. However to keep safe, it you get it with unknown reason, see a doctor promptly!

And when you say that you feel dizzy, it can point to one of two following conditions:

It is a condition when you feel dizzy and you notice that your surroundings or you are moving when actually not (there is no actual movement). As a result, you may become difficult to get standing or walking.

Sometime, vertigo can be followed with nausea or vomiting. It may also make you lose your balance which then can put you at greater chance of falling.

If you have lightheadedness, you may feel dizzy, but you don’t notice that your surroundings or you are moving. You may also feel nauseated /vomit.

Lightheadedness may be less severe than vertigo, as the name implies. Typically, it can improve on its own when you take your body lie down. But depending on the cause of the problem, sometime it can get worse which then will probably cause syncope (fainting spell).

This kind of dizziness can be triggered by menstrual cycle, particularly for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding.

There are lots of ways why you can experience dizziness – from lifestyle /environmental factors to certain mild /serious health problems.

How do you get vertigo?

In general, you can experience vertigo when a signal that sent from the sensory systems of your body (such as sensory nerves, visions, skin pressure sensations, and labyrinth (a part of inner ear)) to your brain doesn’t run as well as it should [1].

Anything that affects the performance of your inner ear can be potential to cause vertigo. Common causes of vertigo include:

  1. Vertebrobasilar insufficiency (a condition of when the blood supply to the base of the brain doesn’t work optimally).
  2. Migraine headache.
  3. Injury to the head /ear.
  4. Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, or other problems that affect the inner ear.

How do you get lightheadedness?

Many people can have lightheadedness from time to time. In general, it is usually triggered with a momentary drop in blood flow to the brain /head. And fortunately, it is rarely associated with a serious health condition.

image_illustration94There are many causes of lightheadedness. The following are other causes [2]:

  1. Too much consumption of alcohol.
  2. Abusing tobacco.
  3. A condition called hyperventilation (very rapid /deep breathing problem).
  4. Dehydration. Fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, or other conditions that can lead to dehydration can be potential to cause lightheadedness.
  5. Common cold or flu.
  6. Sometime certain allergies also can be a trigger factor of lightheadedness.

Furthermore, having bleeding can cause lightheadedness. For instance, this kind of dizziness is pretty common in menstrual women (especially for those who experience heavy bleeding in their periods), as noted before.

If you experience unnoticeable bleeding, such as bleeding in certain part of your digestive system, lightheadedness also can be one of the first common symptoms that you may notice.

How and why does menstrual cycle cause dizziness?

Not all menstrual women experience this symptom. However, some can have it before, during, or even few days after menstruation.

Your menstrual cycle can make your hormonal levels rise and fall. The raised estrogen can occur in the first half of your cycle. And then will be followed with the raised progesterone in the next second half.

These mechanisms can play a key role in resulting the kind of symptom that you will experience prior to, during, and after period. Visit this section for in-depth information about the role of estrogen and progesterone in regulating women menstrual periods.

There are some possible reasons why menstrual cycle can cause dizziness (lightheadedness). Heavy menstrual bleeding, low blood pressure, iron deficiency, and maybe poor diet are some of them.

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Blood pressure can vary throughout the day. In other words, it will not be constant all day long since it responds what you are doing. And it also can vary on different cyclical event such as in menstrual cycle.

A study found that hormones released by ovaries may have an effect in the female blood pressure fluctuations [3].  Unfortunately, the changes in blood pressure during menstrual cycle are still not well documented – even the previous studies that observed this issue had conflicting results.

In general, since menstruation means that there are some blood losses from the body, there is a chance for menstrual women to experience hypotension (low blood pressure). And hypotension is a common reason behind dizziness.

Furthermore, progesterone released in the second half of menstrual cycle may also have an effect on the contraction of the smooth muscles of blood vessels [4].