Causes of Dizziness During Your Period

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

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

This article explains why periods can bring on dizziness, what other conditions can cause the symptom, and when to see your healthcare provider.

Dizzy woman blurry portrait
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Blood Loss Can Cause Dizziness

One of the most common causes of dizziness in menstruating girls and women is iron-deficiency anemia. Anemia is a condition in which you don't have enough red blood cells (RBCs).

Blood loss can result in anemia, whether it is chronic (persistent or recurring) or acute (severe). When you bleed, you lose RBCs. Your RBCs are the cells in your body that carry oxygen.

Your brain is very sensitive to even the smallest changes in oxygen concentrations in your blood. When your brain senses a relative lack of oxygen, you likely will become dizzy.

If you have an average menstrual flow, you lose about 30 milliliters (mL) or about 2 tablespoons of blood every month. Usually, this is not enough blood loss to cause symptoms, unless you have another underlying condition that causes you to be anemic.

But if you regularly have very heavy periods, it is possible to become anemic just from menstrual blood loss.

When you are anemic, any activities that direct blood flow away from your brain and into your muscles will cause dizziness. This "alarm," triggered by the brain, gets you to stop what you are doing so it can receive more oxygen.

Acute or quick blood loss will usually cause more symptoms. This is because the body doesn't have time to make other adjustments to correct for the loss of the oxygen-carrying RBCs.

With slower or more chronic blood loss, it might take longer for you to notice the symptoms of anemia. This is especially true of dizziness.

Blood loss from an ulcer or another digestive tract source can lead to anemia in men and non-menstruating women.

Other Causes of Dizziness

Dizziness is also a symptom of several other diseases and conditions. These include balance disorders, ear problems, stroke, motion sickness, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and dehydration.

Dizziness is a possible side effect of many different types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. These drugs include medications for high blood pressure, asthma and other breathing problems, heart disease, and pain.

Sedatives (which induce calm or sleep) and drugs used to treat ADHD and other mental health conditions can also cause dizziness.

Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you suspect that a drug is causing your dizziness. Never suddenly stop taking any drug without your practitioner's approval.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Most instances of dizziness get better on their own without medical intervention. However, if you experience dizziness often, contact your healthcare provider to get the right diagnosis and treatment.

Contact your practitioner immediately if:

  • You’ve never experienced dizziness before
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • Dizziness interferes with your daily routine

Your healthcare provider will be able to assess what could be causing the symptoms, screen for any developing conditions, and provide any needed treatment.

Summary

A period can cause dizziness because blood loss can lead to anemia, a condition in which you don't have enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Usually, normal amounts of bleeding won't bring on anemia and dizziness, but heavy periods might.

See your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse or interfere with your daily activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I get dizzy or have migraines before my period?

    Dizziness or migraines around periods are related to changing levels of estrogen. Estrogen levels drop leading up to a period. This means some women may experience headaches or migraines up to three days before their period. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and sensitivity to light.

  • Are hot flashes normal?

    Yes. Most women experience hot flashes, usually beginning in their 40s. A hot flash is a sporadic, sudden burst of hot skin and heavy sweat. It can last from 30 seconds to five minutes.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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