The connection between heart palpitations and menopause is that palpitations frequently occur in the years leading up to, during, and after menopause. Typically, being able to feel the heart beating, or being aware of the heartbeat signifies palpitation. Palpitations sometimes are combined with the feeling that the heart is actually skipping a beat, or beating too fast. Hot flashes frequently accompany heart palpitations and menopause. Heart palpitations and menopause also are generally accompanied by fluctuating levels of hormones. Since circulating levels of progesterone and estrogen can directly affect a pounding heart, women frequently experience fear and anxiety during these episodes.
In women who are receiving hormone replacement therapy at the time of menopause, it is common to experience an irregular heart beat or palpitations treatment first begins. This generally resolves after a few months, once the hormones have become stable. Heart palpitations and menopause frequently occur in combination and generally do not signify a serious health condition. Persistent heart palpitations that worsen or are accompanied by chest pain or pressure, dizziness, ankle swelling, or fainting needs to be evaluated. These symptoms are not normal during menopause or any other time, and their cause needs to be determined and treated as soon as possible. When no organic cause can be determined, a the physician might be comfortable diagnosing menopause related heart palpitations.
Other factors contributing to heart palpitations include consumption of caffeine, diet pills, smoking, decongestants, and alcohol. Although none of these substances are particularly beneficial to overall health, they can be especially disruptive during menopause. In addition, heart palpitations and menopause often occur as a result of losing electrolytes related to excessive sweating during hot flashes and night sweats. It is not uncommon to awaken with a racing heart after an episode of night sweats during menopause. To decrease the occurrence of night sweats, women should keep their room temperature cool, wear loose-fitting, breathable pajamas and keep a glass of cool water at the bedside to replenish lost fluids. By keeping hydrated, heart palpitations may decrease.
Sometimes heart palpitations and menopause or peri-menopause are the result of excessive menstrual bleeding that commonly occurs during this time. Excessively heavy periods can cause anemia, which is a known risk factor for heart palpitations. Treatment for anemia includes eating foods rich in iron, such as spinach, and in some cases, taking iron supplements. Typically, once iron reserves have been restored, heart palpitations resolve.