I went through a period 2 years ago where I was experiencing flushes of heat followed by my heart racing. I wound up in the emergency room twice and to my Doctor multiple times before my OBGYN finally said it was probably hormonal. He put me on a low dose birth control pill and it stopped.
I did go to a cardiologist for a complete workup and echocardiogram and he determined everything was fine also.
This seems to be a very common symptom of perimenopause for a lot of women, but it is really nothing to worry about.
Rapid heart beat and heart pounding is one of my symptons too. This is very scarey isn't it? I have a lot of other symptons and I would rather have any of those symptons than this rapid heart beat. I wish that there was a natural remedy that I could take to get rid of this sympton. If anyone else on this board had this same problem and don't have it anymore, please share with us what you did to get rid of this sympton. I just started taking Remeifin and it is too soon to know if this will work for me, but I heard that Remeifin doesn't help rapid heart beats only hot flashes.
My doctor explained that hot flashes are caused by the same thing that causes the rapid heartbeat. It is a vasomotor response in the body and when a hot flash happens, blood flow increases in the body and sometimes causes the heart to race. When I started taking the low dose birth control pill to stop the hot flashes, the heart racing stopped too. After having gone through the heart racing frequently during a 2 - 3 month period, it stopped completely and has never resumed. I am no longer on the pill, and every once in a while, I do get a minor hot flash, but no heart racing.
It really used to scare me until I realized that it was the same as a hot flash and that there was nothing wrong with my heart. I think sometimes when you don't know what is wrong with you, the anxiety makes everything worse.
I am on a "hiatus" now from perimenopausal symptoms right now. Although I stopped taking the pill, it seemed to straighten out my hormones and I feel normal again. It is a strange phenomenon, this perimenopause thing! I hope it's smooth sailing from here!
I have had my time with heart palps or heart pounding too....yes, they are scary. For me, they lasted couple of months on/off couple times a day. They just seem to have to run its course like all of the other symptoms we go thru. At the time tho, I avoided drinking coffee and any OTC meds that could cause excitability (for me, such as decongestants, i.e., pseudoephedrine HCI, Sudafed). I also took deep breaths, laid down, tried to relax and not freak out over it. It probably helps and is much more comforting to know if all your cardio tests are OK too.
The heart racing thing was like someone switched on the adrenalin button after the heart flash. Boy, my heart was going about 200bpm. Well, maybe not that fast, but just enough to hear my heartbeat in my head.
I know how you feel - when I was going through this I had to use an event monitor for my heart. Each time my heart would race, I would place this device on my chest and record it. Then I would have to phone the reading in and they would say, "everything looks OK" even though my heart was beating 160 beats per minute! The rythym was fine, it was just fast. Then it would pass. Once the doctor saw the results he said that my heart was fine and the heart racing was without cause.
The only time I ever had the racing heart was after I would feel that adrenaline flush. I wouldn't get red and burn up - I would just feel warm and feel an adrenaline "surge". At the same time, I had terrible insomnia and was at the end of my rope with all of this. Thank God for my OBGYN. When I described all of my symptoms to him he said they are all caused by a hormonal imbalance. I kept thinking they were tied to my cycle, but I was 40 when this started and my regular doctor said I was too young to be experiencing perimenopause. She kept saying it must be anxiety!
What a frustrating experience. Now that I have talked to many of my friends about this, I am amazed at how many of them have these symptoms. I hope you all find relief from all of this - I didn't think I would have to deal with all of this until I was in my 50s.
I had a big problem with rapid heart beat too. I had hot flashes, but the racing heart came separately from them. I'd wake up some mornings feeling like I had just run a marathon or feeling like something had scared the daylights out of me in my sleep. It was so weird!
Turns out I also had a thyroid condition which kicked in right around the same time as the perimenopausal stuff kicked in. Since I was also having symptoms of exteme fatigue, high blood pressure, and intestinal stuff, my doc did thyroid tests and discovered the problem.
To this day I don't know if the rapid heart beat was from menopause or thyroid. I did end up going on Synthroid and Toprol XL (because my blood pressure got high enough to warrant medication). The Toprol took care of the heart symptoms quickly. I'm postmenopausal over a year now and still having hot flashes from time to time, but they're not as bad as they used to be. I hope they stop soon.
I'd love to get off the Toprol, so I'm working on a diet and exercise program that will hopefully get my pressure down. It's tricky, though, because of the thyroid problem.
Boy, this getting old stuff really stinks!
Last edited by anniefannie; 10-05-2004 at 05:49 PM.
I am glad you mentioned the fact that the racing heart could be a symptom of thyroid problems. At first, when I started to experience the racing heart and flashes, my doctor sent me for Thyroid bloodwork and it was normal. Then, within 2 months, I wound up in the emergency room twice with this and again, they suspected the thyroid, did bloodwork, and all was normal.
I think it is important for women to have a thorough checkup if they start to experience the rapid heartbeat because , although it is common in perimenopause, it is also a clear symtpom of thyroid disease and should be eliminated as a possible cause through a blood test.
I have read a great deal about perimenopause and it is very common for women to start experiencing Thyroid conditions during this time. If thyroid and other potential health problems are ruled out, the racing heart (especially when it is preceded by a hot flash) can almost certainly be attributed to perimenopause.
Once you know what causes this, it is not so scary and you can learn to wait it out when it starts to happen.
Tests for my thyroid levels always came out normal too. My thyroid hormones were fluctuating and I had symptoms of hyper and hypothyroidism. I was a mess for months. But my GP doctor, bless his heart, just had a feeling it was a thyroid problem and did another test which measures thyroid antibodies. This is where the problem finally showed up.
Since the symptoms of perimenopause and thyroid are so similar, and since these two events sometimes coincide with each other, women may want to ask for the thyroid antibodies test during perimenopause. Going thru menopause is bad enough, but if you develop a thyroid problem with it, its double trouble!
I wish I had known all of this 5 years ago. It would have saved me months of torture and anxiety! My OBGYN never even told me I may be going thru peri (I was 49). He tested me for ovarian and uterine cancer! Talk about stress!!! Needless to say I haven't been back to him since. Thank goodness for my GP who finally figured it out.