Palpitations during menopause
Cardiac stumbling is understood in the medical sense as extrasystoles, which are among the cardiac arrhythmias. An extrasystole is an extra beat that begins outside of the heart's normal rhythm. This beat starts a little earlier than the actually following heartbeat. Since the heart needs a short time after each beat to return to its original state and to be re-excited from there, it is usually not ready for the following heartbeat and it fails. This exposure is called a “compensatory pause” and is often experienced as a heart palpitation. The next beats follow again in the normal rhythm. During the menopause there may be an increased incidence of heart stumbling.
Read more on this topic: Palpitations - How dangerous is it?
During menopause, both hormone-related changes can be the cause of heart palpitations, as well as other causes that occur independently of hormone changes. They can originate in the heart chamber (ventricular) or in certain cells of the atrium (supraventricular).
Read more on this topic: Causes of palpitations
In most cases, however, the occurrence has no disease value, but is a normal phenomenon. During the menopause there is a natural decrease in the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone (Please also read: Hormones during menopause). Because these hormones affect many organ systems in the body, many changes occur. These include, among other things, a change in psychological mood, often associated with increased sensitivity, mood swings and depressive moods. Hot flashes, insomnia and night sweats can also occur. These changes are often associated with stress, restlessness, and sometimes anxious feelings.
These factors influence the autonomic nervous system, which can adapt the heart rhythm to the respective situation and tries to accelerate it when stressed. Thus, stress, restlessness and fear promote the occurrence of heart palpitations. They are particularly favored in combination with nicotine, alcohol or caffeine.
Read more on this topic: Palpitations from stress
Another change brought about by the drop in hormones is the loss of blood vessel protection. On the one hand, estrogen regulates the fat distribution in the body, and on the other hand it ensures that the blood vessels expand. When the hormone level drops, fat is redistributed in the female body, causing the fat level in the blood to rise. Both the constriction of the vessels and the increased blood fat level lead to increased calcification of the vessels. Also in the heart. The blood supply to the heart is reduced, and cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac stumbling can occur more frequently.
Furthermore, there are other causes that can occur independently of the menopause, but coincidentally at the same time. These are, for example, the disease or inflammation of the heart or the heart valves, a heart attack, a thyroid disease or a disorder of the electrolyte balance e.g. a potassium deficiency. Some medications can also trigger heart palpitations.
Heart stumbling through the thyroid gland? Read more about this here.
Most of the time, the occurrence of heart stumbling is a completely normal phenomenon of the heart. However, if symptoms persist or arrhythmias last longer than 30 seconds, if they occur frequently or if they have severe accompanying symptoms, a doctor should be consulted. In order to diagnose heart stumbling and the question of whether there is a connection with the menopause, it is particularly important to talk to the doctor, i.e. the anamnesis. Pre-existing conditions and risk factors for heart disease such as smoking should be discussed here. The frequency, duration and accompanying symptoms are also important for the doctor. It should also be discussed whether the symptoms are stress-related. For further examination, the heart is monitored, the blood pressure is measured and the pulses are palpated. This enables irregularities in the rhythm and frequency of the heart to be recognized. In addition, if you experience abnormal heart sounds, the doctor may conclude that there are other heart conditions.
Another diagnostic option is the EKG examination. Here, the spread of excitation in the heart is shown, whereby the origin of the additional excitation can be concluded. In addition, the heart can be viewed with a heart ultrasound and heart diseases, such as heart valve defects, can be identified or excluded. The blood test, which measures the hormone levels in the blood and, in the case of heart disease, increased proteins, is particularly important for the question of whether stumbling across the heart is related to menopause.
Cardiac stumbling during menopause can occur with or without accompanying symptoms. In most cases, the mere occurrence of cardiac stumbling, i.e. extrasystoles, has no disease value. If symptoms occur close to the heart stumbling, it should be clarified whether these are pure symptoms of menopause or whether there is an additional heart disease.
Such accompanying symptoms can be sweating, nervous restlessness or a racing heart. These symptoms occur especially in nervous people as an anxious reaction to the palpitations. So they usually do not point to an illness, but rather to the emotional feeling. In the case of other accompanying symptoms such as dizziness, impaired consciousness, severe pain in the chest or upper abdomen and shortness of breath, on the other hand, indicate an underlying disease of the heart.
If the palpitations and the accompanying symptoms occur more strongly during exercise, the cause of the symptoms should be clarified by a doctor. In rare cases, coughing can occur as an accompanying symptom. The pulse can often be felt more strongly in the case of heart palpitations. The blood vessels in the neck are particularly close to the heart. Therefore, the increased pounding can occasionally trigger an urge to cough.
Does the palpitations occur at rest? Read our article on this before going to the doctor: Palpitations at rest
Treatment / therapy
In general, before deciding on a therapy for heart palpitations, the cause should be determined and treated accordingly. This applies to symptoms that are dependent on or independent of the menopause. Since most heart palpitations, i.e. the extrasystoles, occur as a normal phenomenon in healthy people, they do not require any therapy in this case. Relaxation methods or easy breathing can be helpful here. Especially when there are increased emotions and stressful feelings of fear due to hormonal changes in the body.
Read more on this topic: Therapy of heart stumbling
In the presence of previous illnesses, especially those of the heart or a previous heart attack, the cause should be precisely determined and treated. Otherwise, the content of important trace elements in the blood such as potassium or magnesium should be checked. If this is below the normal range, these substances should be added to the body in sufficient quantities. If you are deficient in potassium, foods rich in potassium such as whole grain products or bananas (Please also read: Detecting a potassium deficiency). Magnesium is mainly found in sunflower seeds, legumes and lentils. In addition, these substances can be taken in tablet form. However, this should always be discussed with a doctor, as overdosing can have very serious side effects.
If the stumbling of the heart is so pronounced that it comes to a severe disturbance of the heart rhythm, which restricts the heart's pumping capacity, medication can be used to calm the heart's rhythm and bring it back to normal. These drugs are called antiarrhythmics. They intervene strongly in the function of the heart to regulate its own beats. With this therapy, there is an increased risk of uncoordinated excitation of the heart. This can lead to what is known as ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.
Hormone preparations should be avoided for both the therapy of heart palpitations and the prevention of a heart attack, as these drugs have many side effects such as an increased risk of breast cancer.
Medication for heart palpitations during pregnancy
Some medications themselves can also lead to extrasystoles, which make themselves felt as heart palpitations. It is important for the excitation of the heart that leads to the heartbeat that many substances are in balance in the body. So a certain amount of potassium is also required. Some medications, such as diuretics, which are used to increase the excretion of water, also increase the excretion of potassium and lead to a potassium deficiency in the body. This can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and heart stumbling. During the menopause there is a redistribution of fat and water retention in the body. The administration of diuretics should be avoided as these drugs lead to heart stumbling.
In stressful and anxious situations, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which increases the activity of the heart. Medications that activate the sympathetic nervous system can also affect the rhythm of the heart, causing heart stumbling. They are called sympathomimetics. In a similar way, some antidepressants can affect the heartbeat. Since the hormonal changes during the menopause often lead to mood swings, these drugs may be used here.
Antiarrhythmics are often used to treat cardiac arrhythmias. These directly influence the rhythm of the heart. They are actually supposed to regulate the heartbeat in such a way that a normal heart rate arises with sufficient heart strength. If they are not set correctly or if they do not strike properly, extrasystoles, i.e. heart palpitations, can occur here too. In general, you should pay particular attention to abnormalities or side effects when taking medication for the first time and consult a doctor, especially if you experience heart problems such as frequent heart palpitations.
Homeopathy for palpitations during pregnancy
Since the most common cause of heart palpitations during menopause are stress, restlessness and anxiety, homeopathic remedies can be a good help here for relaxation. On the other hand, it is important to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist or deteriorate.
Homeopathy offers many different remedies that can have a relaxing or calming effect and thus reduce heart stumbling, including some Schüssler salts or healing stones.
Read more on this topic: Homeopathy for palpitations
The occurrence of the heart stumbling can happen for different times and with different frequency. If the symptoms appear for the first time with the onset of menopause, this may indicate a connection with the hormonal change, which is not dangerous, however. Attention should be paid to the number of complaints. In the case of heart stumbling, it is very important to consult a doctor several times for more than 30 seconds at a time, as heart disease is more likely to be the cause.
The following topic could also be of interest to you: Palpitations after eating
Roemheld syndrome describes heart problems that arise as a reaction to pressure on the heart from the stomach or intestines. These complaints can also include extrasystoles, i.e. an additional heartbeat that can be felt as a palpitations. The stomach and intestines lie in the abdomen directly below the heart and are separated from it by the diaphragm. If they are bloated or enlarged, there is pressure on the heart.This pressure can be caused by heavy, bloating meals in the stomach, inflammation in the stomach area, or food intolerance, which in turn leads to gas.
Various digestive disorders occur increasingly during menopause. If the abdomen is inflated, pressure on the heart can also occur here and, as a result, heart stumbling. This would also be an example of Roemheld Syndrome.
To diagnose Roemheld's syndrome, other heart diseases must be unlocked. This is preferably carried out by means of an EKG examination or a heart ultrasound. If Roemheld's syndrome is confirmed, the abdominal bloating can be treated with medication such as Lefax® with simeticon as an active ingredient in order to bind the gas accumulation in the intestine and thus reduce the pressure on the heart.