Many people experience dizziness when hungry due to low blood glucose levels. However, some individuals also feel lightheadedness after eating, along with fatigue and unsteady movement. This condition may be triggered by food allergies or underlying medical issues.
Causes of dizziness after eating
Typically, postprandial blood sugar spikes contribute to an overall healthy body. Therefore, feeling dizzy after both main and light meals requires attention. Various underlying causes can lead to this condition, most of which can be addressed through different measures.
Digestion is a complex process that necessitates precise coordination among the digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems. When food enters the digestive tract, a significant amount of blood is supplied to the stomach and intestines to facilitate efficient nutrient absorption.
To compensate for this deficiency, the heart beats faster, and the peripheral blood vessels constrict to maintain normal blood pressure. In older individuals, aging affects the receptors sensing blood pressure inside the blood vessels, leading to a slowed process of blood pressure regulation and resultant drops in blood pressure.
Insulin is a hormone group that aids in glucose absorption, storage, and utilization. After a meal rich in carbohydrates, increased blood glucose levels trigger the pancreas to release more insulin. However, this hormone can dilate blood vessels in the abdominal area, diverting more blood to the digestive system, leading to postprandial dizziness, especially after high-carb meals.
Low blood sugar levels
Low blood sugar levels can cause lightheadedness and dizziness when lying down or after eating. Typically, blood sugar levels rise after meals, contributing to improved postprandial dizziness in some individuals. A decrease in blood sugar levels after eating can result in reactive hypoglycemia, leading to dizziness.
Patients with diabetes or prediabetes might experience postprandial hypoglycemia due to excessive insulin production. Additionally, individuals without these conditions can also experience postprandial dizziness due to low blood sugar.
Dizziness due to diabetes medication
Certain diabetes medications, including insulin, can cause dizziness by excessively lowering blood sugar levels. Taking medication just before a meal can result in postprandial dizziness when the drug takes effect. Diabetic patients experiencing postprandial dizziness should consult their physicians to adjust medication dosage, timing, or meal schedules.
Food and beverages
Chemicals in alcoholic beverages can induce postprandial dizziness when consumed during meals. Additionally, food sensitivities can cause nausea and dizziness. It’s essential to note that certain medications, caffeine, or alcohol can also be a cause of postprandial dizziness.
It’s advisable to document episodes of dizziness and the foods consumed beforehand. This information can be used to adjust diet accordingly, reducing dizziness and lightheadedness.
Standing up after sitting
Most individuals who sit and promptly stand after a meal experience a drop in blood pressure, leading to lightheadedness. This issue arises not from the meal itself but from the sudden transition from a seated position to a standing one.
Furthermore, postprandial dizziness can also be caused by factors such as dehydration, nervous system disorders, cardiovascular issues, pregnancy, infections or fever, low blood sugar, diabetes, anemia, bleeding, and more.
Effective measures to alleviate postprandial dizziness
Postprandial dizziness can be improved through various methods, including medication, dietary adjustments, and adequate rest.
There are several medication groups that can assist in treating dizziness, alleviating symptoms such as blurred vision and nausea. You can explore commonly used dizziness treatments. However, these medications should be used only in severe cases where resting does not provide relief.
Some of these medications can cause side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue due to their impact on the central nervous system. Therefore, careful consideration is necessary before use, and consulting a physician is advised.
Limiting postural changes
After meals, avoid immediate standing, as sudden changes can induce dizziness. Resting and rising slowly, with controlled movements, can help. You can close your eyes to limit visual stimuli and reduce vestibular stimulation during the postural transition.
Additionally, avoid using swivel chairs or reclining chairs excessively, and avoid sudden bending movements while picking up items or tying shoelaces.
Acupressure for postprandial dizziness
If you experience dizziness after eating, you can use your fingers to stimulate specific acupoints several times a day for effective relief.
Location of acupoints
- Press the Yintang point, located between the eyebrows.
- The He Gu point is located in the main gap between the thumb and index finger.
- The Tian Ding point is situated 0.5 inch behind the hairline, pressing straight up 3.5 inches from the He Gu point.
- The Bai Hui point is at the top of the head, where the perpendicular line intersects the midpoint between the top of the ear and the midline of the head.
- The Nei Guan point is easily identifiable on the wrist, approximately 2 inches from the wrist crease.
- The Feng Chi point is located in the hollow between the back of the neck and the outer border of the trapezius muscle, attaching to the base of the skull.
Massage to alleviate dizziness
You can perform massages to alleviate headaches and postprandial dizziness as follows:
- Forehead massage: Use three fingers, the middle, and ring finger, to massage the forehead back and forth 20-30 times, then stroke along both sides of the eyebrow arch. This method helps regulate blood and energy flow, expelling excess fire, and alleviating headaches and dizziness.
- Neck massage: Use both palms to stroke up and down the sides of the neck 20-30 times to relax the muscles, calm the mind, and improve blood flow to the brain.
- Scalp massage: Use three fingers to press and rub the top of the head horizontally and vertically for 4-5 minutes each time. This technique aids in opening the orifices, clarifying the mind, and alleviating headaches, insomnia, and dizziness.
- Earlobe massage and tapping: Use the index and middle fingers, place them in front of the ear, use the index finger behind the ear, then stroke around the acupoints 20-30 times and uniformly massage around the ear 20-30 times. Then, use both palms to cover the ears and press 5-10 times, creating a drumming sound in the ears. This approach effectively treats tinnitus, headaches, hearing loss, and dizziness.
Some other tips to improve postprandial dizziness
In addition to the aforementioned approaches, headaches and dizziness can also be alleviated through a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle. You can refer to and implement the following guidelines:
Avoid alcohol, beer, or other stimulants during meals to prevent blurred vision and dizziness. After meals, you can drink a glass of water with sugar or honey to help the body relax and reduce dizziness.
- Control your blood pressure well, avoid excessive stress, pressure, or fatigue over multiple days.
- Engage in regular physical exercise to maintain good arterial elasticity, ensuring normal blood flow and blood pressure.
- Ensure a diverse and balanced diet, avoid excessive dieting, get enough sleep, and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts.
- During dizziness, remain calm and rest in the most comfortable position to allow the body to recover.
- Drinking plenty of filtered water is also a way to make the body more comfortable, reducing headaches, fatigue, or dizziness after eating.
Postprandial dizziness is less common than dizziness before meals, but it still carries many risks and can affect the patient’s health. Therefore, you need to adopt a healthy and balanced lifestyle, consult a physician, and seek advice from experts to find the most suitable approach for your health condition.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.