Dizziness and nausea

Can anyone help??!!

I am 33 and used to be a reasonable runner!  I used to train 25 - 50 miles a week depending on what I was training for.  I have run the London Marathon twice (3.33 and 3.35) and countless 10k's and half marathons.

I had my gorgeous daughter, Hollie, last September and started running again after about eight weeks.  I was doing really well and back to about 8.30 minutes / mile on training runs.  That was until about 8 weeks ago (about five months after Hollie's birth) when I felt really dizzy whilst running outside for about 20 minutes.  Every run I have tried outside since then has seen me feeling dizzy, having to walk and more or less collapsing when I stop as I feel so dizzy (like the ground is coming towards me).  This has been getting progressively worse so that now I can do no more than about 10 mins outside without having to walk.  I was also actually sick when I stopped today.

 I am certainly not pushing it.  I have dropped to about 9.30 min / mile.  My legs feel good and I certainly don't feel tired.  It is just the dizziness that stops me and the thought that when I stop I feel sick and take a long time to recover.  After my 3 mile run / walk this morning I had to spend ten mins lying down and then I didn't feel myself until about 45 mins after the run.

 I have been to the doctors and she says I have low iron and has precribed iron tablets.  I think my result was 14 where low end of normal is 20.  It doesn't seem that bad such that it should be causing these symptoms.  I am supposed to wait a month before I go back but it is getting worse.

Incidently I can run on a treadmill and have no problems (which again to me suggests that it isn't iron).  I can only think that it is something to do with being outside - like hayfever?  That said I have never had any smptoms of hayfever and don't feel congested.

 Can anybody help.  Running is my lifeline and I dread going out at the moment.    


  • TheraThera ✭✭✭

    Hi there!

    I have had similar issues an dam now on iron tablets. I find they do work as I now don't get dizzy anymore. I did find that I woudl get dizzy quicker outside than I would on the treadmill...no logical explanation that I can think of. Maybe the outside running is more work due to hills/wind etc. If your outdoor running miles are longer than your treadmill miles...could be a factor. It is probably a combination of things. I have never been able to pin it down to one. Once the iron is in your system and your levels are back to normal your running will get back on track. I ran a marathon last week and had no dizzy issues at all. Be patient...they will work...good luck!

  • Thanks for this.  Patience is not really one of my virtues!! but I have been on iron tablets a week now and I must say that I think I am starting to feel better.  I did 4 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday at a reasonable pace and felt really good.  Lets hope that I still feel good when I try and run outside again probably over the weekend.

    Thanks for your response and well done on your marathon.  I can only dream of having another go at a marathon at the moment but one day.......who knows, maybe I'll run one with my daughter!


  • Hi Sarah

    I know your post was an awful long time ago but is down to a tee what I am going through at the moment and I wondered what had happened to you back in 2009 to get over it? Incidentally I don't have low iron levels, but everything else you mention is exactly the same.

     I hope you pick this up and can respond!



  • EdnaModesEdnaModes ✭✭✭
    CP - have you been tested for asthma? Sometimes it manifests itself as dizziness.
  • Gosh, never heard of asthma and dizziness being connected! Certainly don't have any breathing problems or tight chest. Waiting to see specialist now but would appreciate hearing from other runners' similar experiences.
  • By the way, does anyone know if Sarah Wilson 13 still visits the forum?
  • MicheBMicheB ✭✭
    Hi am posting here in hope either Carol or Sarah pick this up - I am having exactly same prob as you both did and am desperately trying to find a diagnosis and treatment. Please please can you let me know if you got to the bottom of it and found a solution? Thanks so much in advance xx
  • Hi there, I haven't been on here for ages but been notified that there have been some responses and thought it would be a good idea to update my story.  I'm not sure it will give anyone any answers but here goes.

      After a number of visits to the doctors for various blood tests and exams I reached the conclusion that it probably was low iron levels combined with lack of sleep (a build up of interrupted sleep in the months following Hollie's birth), breast feeding, combined with stress of going back to work and probably being dehydrated.  I was on iron tablets for a time but I think things also started to correct themselves as these factors reduced.   Things definitely improved over time.  I was able to run during my entire second pregnancy in 2010 and picked it up pretty soon after giving birth and didn't seem to suffer to the same extent.   That said, I have never tried to get back down to 7.30 / 8 min/mile or race.  I now run roughly 15 miles a week all off road (with our Labrador) about 9.30 mins / mile and I'm generally fine unless I try to run on empty (both energy levels and not properly dehydrated or having not eaten enough during the day).  This suits me at the moment as it keeps me in shape but doesn't take me away from the children for too long which is important to me as I also work virtually full time.  I do not know if I would have a recurrence if I tried to improve substantially / compete and if so I would go back to the doctors.  I did however get frustrated at the lack of answers and the 'just see how it goes' type response.  I reached the conclusion (rightly or wrongly) that if there was anything fundamentally wrong then it would have caused problems beyond when I was running eg walking, climbing stairs, cycling etc and that has never been a problem.   So, in conclusion, I have put it down to where I was in my life and 'one of those things'.  I am happy with where I am at the moment in terms of my running but if I did try to step it up in the future and had issues then I would go back to the doctors.
  • Just updating this very old post in case anyone that is in a similar position logs back on. I have recently had cardiology investigations as I visited my doctor again as this is really affecting my running and I'm losing confidence when I run and unable to step it up. All of cardio tests were normal (ecg, stress test and scan) until yesterday when I produced a rather dramatic positive result on the tilt table test. They were able to replicate my symptoms by administering adrenaline to replicate exercise whilst I was tilted. My heart rate increased to 120 which is a normal reaction to the adrenaline but then almost immediately dropped to 60 and my blood pressure feel off a cliff and then I fainted (note I don't normally faint when running but these are artificial circumstances and place more stress than the steady runs I do as there is a steeper increase in heart rate). It is all to do with the fact that the messages being sent from my brain to heart are confused i.e. my brain is telling my heart to slow down and relaxes my blood vessels when actually my body needs it to do exactly the opposite. The result is feeling lightheaded, nausea, potential faint as not enough blood reaching the brain. The consultant was reasonably confident that this is causing my issues. It sounds worse than it is in that the first thing to look at is increased hydration and salt and potassium intake (coconut water has been recommended) checking if I am retaining salt correctly. All of this is designed to give the body the best chance of doing what it should be doing. If that fails then there are medications and ultimately the option of a pacemaker but I am hoping that it won't come to that as I'm only 40. Ultimately don't want to scare anyone but I have to say I am relieved to finally have a potential reason that I can see logic in and also that things can be done to improve the situation. Just thought worth mentioning. It isn't a very pleasant test (especially if you faint like I did) but worth having if you can get a referral.


  • Sarah Wilson 13, Has the salt and potassium been working for you?
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