Heart palpitations and menopause

heart palpitation and menopause

How are heart palpitations related to menopause? 

Palpitations are irregular heartbeats perceived as a feeling “as if the heart is going to jump out of the chest”. There is a relation between heart palpitations and menopause:

Are they increased or decreased?

Menopause can be often associated with heart palpitations, which may be in the form of skipped beats, extra beats ( from 8 to 16 per minute) and racing heart (may even reach 200 beats per minute).

There is no reliable statistic on how many menopausal woman experience heart palpitations, but the number it is believed to be approximately 25% to 40%.

Heart palpitations in menopause are often accompanied with hot flashes and anxiety (the classic symptoms of menopause).

The cause of these palpitations is the diminished levels of estrogen, and the hormonal fluctuation between estrogen and progesterone. Diminished levels of estrogen cause an over-stimulation of the heart, whereas the fluctuation of both estrogen and progesterone tires too much the body, causing menopausal symptoms, and heart palpitations amongst other symptoms.

What other problems to consider when having heart palpitations during menopause?

Heart palpitations in menopause last for several months and then go away. They are not sign of a heart disease. But, if the palpitations last longer than that and are more frequent, seeking a doctor’s advice is necessary because they might be sign of serious diseases.

Hyperthyroidism is a state that can cause heart palpitations because of the increased effects of adrenaline caused by the excess levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). A simple blood test to measure levels of TSH will clear the diagnosis.

When palpitations happen on a recurring basis and are associated with light-headedness or shortness of breath may be a sign of a heart disease.

The tests that can be done to diagnose the underlying disease are:

·       an ECG,

·       a cardiac-ultrasound (cardiac ECHO),

·       a stress echocardiogram is a very accurate method of diagnosing heart problems in women with heart palpitations and menopause.

If the tests show no sign of heart diseases, then the palpitations are safe to consider menopausal symptoms. If there is an organic affection of the heart, which causes these palpitations, then the treatment must be started immediately according to the underlying disease.

How to overcome problems with heart palpitations and menopause?

The usual treatment of menopausal women suffering from palpitations is a combination of lifestyle changes and other natural treatments.

If palpitations are troublesome and quite intrusive, using medications might be necessary. Beta-blockers are the most effective drugs in this case. The dosage and the frequency that they have to be taken must be specified by the doctor.

Given that menopausal palpations are a result of the fluctuating levels of hormones (estrogen and progesterone), the hormone therapy will help on the matter.

The common natural therapy that is used to cure menopausal palpitations includes plants such as motherwort, black cohosh, hawthorn and linseeds.

The lifestyle changes that can help in reducing the menopausal palpations are as following:

1.    Reducing the intake of caffeine

2.    Limiting the consumption of stimulants, cigarette and alcohol.

3.    Practicing yoga, breathing exercise and other relaxing techniques.

4.    Wearing loose-fitting clothes.

It is important to discuss with the doctor before deciding to undergo one of the aforementioned therapies.

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