I’m so dizzy…

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in menopause | 2 comments


my head is spinning.

Those of you in my generation will remember this song by Vic Reeves with the Wonder Stuff. Talk about a one hit wonder! Or Vertigo, the incredible film by Alfred Hitchcock. But, dizziness is anything but wondrous and having suffered a form of vertigo that occurs when the head changes position (also known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV)), I can share that it’s an awful experience. The last time it happened, I didn’t leave the house, didn’t drive and required motion sickness pills to sleep.

The reason why I’m sharing this with you is that BPPV occurs in at least twice as many women as men and its likelihood increases with aging. More troubling is the fact that study findings suggest that hormonal fluctuations — especially during menopause — appear to play a role. Historically, BPPV has been linked to the dislodging of crystals in the inner ear, which causes a greater sensitivity to gravity. Thereafter, changes in head position, for example, lying down, looking up or turning over in bed can cause brief vertigo spells. Although most of the time researchers don’t know why it occurs in some people versus others, BPPV has been linked to head trauma other ear conditions.

The most current research comes from a study of over 1,300 individuals, almost 1,000 of whom were women. I’ve already noted that in the general population, BPPV occurs in twice as many women as men. In this population, not only were women in the 40s three times as likely as their male peers to develop BPPV, but most of them reported being in perimenopause, suggesting that hormonal fluctuations , especially estrogen, were at play. What’s more, some data suggest that there is as we age, there is a deterioration in the protein that help anchor the inner ear crystals, and estrogen appears to help promote this.

The silver lining is that while there is little that can be done about aging and estrogen’s role in BPPV, the problem can be successfully addressed with a series of head maneuvers that help restore the crystals back to their former position. Still, I personally find that I get periodic vertigo sensations at the oddest times and that they tend to worsen during my worst hormone movements.

Dizzy Lizzie? Sure, I’ll admit to it. What about you?


  1. 2-8-2014

    Very timely post! I just was diagnosed with BPPV and just scheduled appointment for VNG and Epley Maneuver in a couple weeks. Even doc couldn’t explain why this happens so I am delighted to read your post to learn the source of this troubling problem. You are the best! Thanks!

    • 2-9-2014

      Lori – sorry to hear about the BPPV but I will tell you, it’s fixable! Keep us posted on the outcome!

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