Menopause is a gradual process, which begins in mid forties and continues until 1 - 2 years after you cease to ovulate. Perimenopausal phase is the stage in which the body starts preparing for the menopause and it begins as early as in the late thirties. During this entire period, body undergoes several hormonal changes which also affect the functioning of other organs. Palpitations, menopause, hot flashes are usually interconnected.
Hormones and Their Working
Before we delve deeper into what are palpitations, and its relation with menopause, it is imperative to understand how hormones work during the normal menstrual cycle. The levels of various hormones in the female body such as estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), keep on changing continuously. Normally, the levels of estrogen in the body rise for the first 14 days in a normal cycle. After which ovulation occurs and the body prepares itself for pregnancy.
Progesterone is produced in large amounts in this phase. Progesterone has a relaxing and calming effect on the body and is also responsible for metabolism of estrogen. Now during menopause, the body's ability to ovulate diminishes, as a result FSH is released in large amounts, in an attempt to stimulate ovulation. This also leads to a surge in the levels of estrogen, which wreaks havoc in the body. Palpitations, are a result of this hormonal imbalance.
Palpitations and Menopause
Palpitations during menopause are characterized by rapidly beating heart, hot flashes in the night etc. The heartbeat becomes irregular and abnormally fast (cardiac arrhythmia). Though, this is pretty common at night, it may occur anytime, anywhere. It may even occur while you are working out or amidst any activity. In such cases, it is wise to discontinue whatever you are doing and try to be as calm as you can. During menopause these episodes occur every 2 - 3 months and last for quite some time. If you are on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), you may experience frequent episodes of heart palpitations during the initial days of the treatment.
Besides, hormonal imbalance, the other causes of palpitation during menopause include ingestion of too many stimulants. Diet pills, decongestants, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine can elevate the heart rate by confusing it. Other palpitation causes include fluid imbalance or loss of electrolytes.
Sometimes, anemia, certain thyroid diseases, hypoglycemia may also cause palpitations around menopausal period. These are serious medical conditions that need to be addressed without delay. Rarely, cardiac muscle malfunction could be the cause, however, you should not be bothered, if you are still within the perimenopausal age.
When you first experience palpitations, you might want to get yourself checked from a physician, to alleviate all the causes, apart from menopause. If any other cause is found to be responsible for it, then a suitable medical treatment can be initiated. Palpitations due to menopause need no medical treatment as they subsequently subside on their own.
Menopause is a part of every woman's life and there is nothing scary about it. However, if your palpitations become unbearable or if you experience other abnormal symptoms along with it, do not hesitate to contact your medical practitioner, for it may be an indication of some serious disorder.