There may be light at the end of the tunnel. Three years ago I was diagnosed with MAV at the National Neurology Hospital in London by the neurotology constultants. This was after two months of constant feelings of imbalance, head full of cottonwool, marshmallow walking, juddering/jigging vision, a couple of blinding migraines, ear ache, mild tinnitus, ear fullness, exhaustion. night dizziness, extreme nausea etc etc. I had taken those two months off work and thought something awful had happened and my life would never be the same again. They put me on topirmate but after two weeks I was suicidal and crying in the doctors surgery, feeling as though I had a bad case of flu. I can’t even remember Christmas or New Year that year. They whipped me of the topirmate and put me on lamotrigine. I was on this for 8 months at various amounts but it did not do anything other than make me feel sick and very bloated. Gradually I began to get some life back…work became manageable, I began jogging again and going to the gym, walking as much as possible everywhere. Some days were still full of head weirdness and disequiblibrium, as though my head was full of water sloshing from side to side. Some nights I woke up sliding all over the place and many times I suffered with extreme nausea…
…At the same time I was in peri-menopause. This had been confirmed about 4 years before this started (ie 7 years ago) when my GP told me I had had complete ovarian failure. He was wrong: I menstruated on and off until November 2008 but clearly my hormones were in great flux. I was having hot flushes and night sweats and my periods…when they came…were appallingly painful and heavy.
It was suggested by the neurotologist in London that hormone shifts and oestrogen drop could be contributing to my “condition”, but HRT was not recommended as there are contraindications with this and migraines. I am and always have been a migraineur…about two a year. (Lucky I know).
Now…three years on…I can say that I am no longer that same person. My balance is fine, I rarely have dizziness or head fullness (although occasionally may get zapped with a “zoom dolly” effect). I am also, post menopausal.
I feel quite strongly that all these symptoms were a result of hormone chaos. Maybe this affected my migraine pattern as it does with hormone changes. Maybe. But I do feel that more research needs to be done into the affects on the brain that the menopause has. There are many women on menopause forums who write lucidly and with great description about their dizziness, weird head feelings, spaced out and marshmallow legs. These women could be contributing here, the symptoms are so similar. It may be that treating women “of a certain age” with powerful drugs like topiramate, depakote, myriad anti-depressants etc is not the answer to what is, possibly, menopause related dizzinesss and not migraine related dizziness.
Just a thought. But would like to give a little hope if you are in this cateogry. I think the chances are that you will simply come out the other side…may take a few years…but it will improve.