Q: What can be done about heart palpitations during perimenopause?
A: Heart palpitations occur very commonly during perimenopause and menopause. Many women start experiencing these right before periods, as they hit the late 40’s. Of course, estrogen levels really bottom out right before periods, and that’s the most common time to hear complaints of palpitations, headaches, and insomnia, which are all manifestations of these estrogen drops.
Of course, as we all know, the risks of heart disease do go up at menopause, so it is certainly worthwhile checking in with your internist, who will want to do a cardiogram on you. I would also recommend doing something called a Holter monitor test, which is basically hooking you up to a portable cardiogram machine for 24 hours, preferably in the time frame you are likely to be experiencing palpitations.
Presuming these is no real cardiac disease ongoing, I find the best help to be with estrogen replacement therapy. If these symptoms are in the perimenopause, just occurring before periods, you may do well just taking estrogen for a few days before periods. If these are occurring during menopause, regular full time estrogen replacement therapy will often help. If you do not want to take regular medications, some women find relief from phyto estrogens such as soy or flaxseed.
For women who cannot take estrogen replacement therapy, beta blockers such as Inderal or Tenormin can be helpful. Your care giver should be able to guide you towards the best help for you.