Menopause is a time in a woman's life that ranks right up there with having five children under the age of four. You get no sleep. You're constantly exhausted. And many women have problems with depression. The hot flashes are beyond unpleasant. Your skin dries up, your breasts sag, and your hair falls out. To top it all off, you gain weight. The only good thing about menopause is that your periods stop, although they can be irregular for several years.
So with all these symptoms going on, why should you worry about heart palpitations menopause?
What are heart palpitations?
The heart beats about 80 times per minute. That means in a year, it chalks up over 40 million beats. Occasionally your heart gets a little out of sync, producing an irregular rhythm for a short time. You might feel that you heart is fluttering or you may notice skipped beats or rapid, pounding heartbeats. Some people have complained that it feels like their heart is turning over. The condition is usually temporary, and the uncomfortable sensation disappears quickly.
What causes heart palpitations in menopause?
As you age, your body starts producing less estrogen, the primary female hormone. Estrogen has a protective effect on the heart, helping to keep the arteries clear and flexible and the cardiac musculature calm. Menopause is the time when estrogen production drops to almost nothing. With a sudden absence of estrogen, the heart tends to become slightly irritable. The nice, steady, normal heart rhythm can be interrupted at times with brief episodes of an irregular rhythm.
Is this irregular rhythm dangerous?
The heart palpitations menopause produces, are generally not harmful, but they can be a frightening experience. There are, however, other types of palpitations, caused by heart problems, that can occur along with the heart palpitations menopause causes. You should see your doctor about this irregular heartbeat, even if it is associated with menopause.
How can you prevent palpitations?
- Stop smoking – The chemicals and tars in cigarettes have a toxic effect on the heart, causing stimulation and irritation of the electrical pathways.
- Stay well hydrated – Dehydration tends to cause electrolyte imbalances, which can trigger palpitations.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – Both are heart stimulants.
- Get plenty of sleep – Follow a sleep regimen. If you don't have one, ask your doctor.
- Exercise regularly – Even if it's only twenty minutes a day, try to get your body moving.
- Reduce stress – Use meditation or exercise to help cope with the normal stresses of life.
- Know what your medicines do – Watch out for over-the-counter drugs, especially cold remedies, and herbal remedies. They have side effects just like any medication and some of those side effects cause palpitations.
Once you have been checked out by your doctor, you will be better able to tolerate the heart palpitations menopause causes. Just reducing the anxiety, associated with a fluttery feeling in the chest, is likely to reduce the frequency of the irregular rhythms.
Menopause is a difficult experience, but we all manage to muddle through. Talk to your doctor and stay healthy.