Perimenopause Heart Palpitations: Underlying Causes and Treatment Options

    Published 16 March 2020
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    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    Have you been experiencing an irregular heartbeat? Then perimenopause heart palpitations could be to blame. Here, Flo uncovers the source of the problem and how to deal with it.

    What are perimenopause heart palpitations?

    Generally speaking, a heart palpitation is a pounding, fluttering, or fast heartbeat triggered by a number of potential factors. They include stress, exercise, medication, or in rare cases, an underlying medical condition.

    When you’re having heart palpitations, you may feel as if your heart is:

    • Fluttering rapidly
    • Skipping beats
    • Beating very fast
    • Flip-flopping
    • Pounding

    Perimenopause heart palpitations can sometimes be felt in your neck, throat, or chest, and occur when you’re either at rest or engaged in physical activity. 

    Fortunately, heart palpitations are usually harmless. In certain cases, however, they might point to a more serious condition, such as arrhythmia (i.e., an abnormal heart rhythm) which requires treatment. As such, it’s important to discuss perimenopause heart palpitations with your doctor.

    Causes of perimenopause heart palpitations

    Perimenopause refers to the stage in life when your body makes the natural transition into menopause, signaling an end to your reproductive or childbearing years.

    Scientists continue to investigate the precise mechanisms of estrogen and the way it functions within your body. According to their research, the hormone affects nearly all tissues and organ systems, including your heart and blood vessels.

    But can perimenopause cause heart palpitations? It is possible. Heart palpitations during perimenopause may be the result of specific hormonal shifts that characterize both perimenopause and menopause.

    Treatment and prevention of perimenopause heart palpitations

    If you begin experiencing any type of heart palpitations during perimenopause, be sure to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor will conduct an examination to rule out anything life-threatening. 

    Occasionally, perimenopause heart palpitations could indicate a major medical issue like hyperthyroidism (i.e., an overactive thyroid) or arrhythmia.

    It’s critical to see a doctor should you observe any of the following symptoms:

    • Perimenopause heart palpitations start happening more frequently
    • They last longer than a couple of minutes each time
    • They seem to gradually worsen 

    Also, seek emergency medical treatment if you develop any of the following symptoms in association with perimenopause heart palpitations:

    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fainting
    • Dizziness

    As far as prevention goes, certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your chances of getting heart palpitations during perimenopause:

    • Eat at regular intervals to prevent blood sugar levels from dropping and producing heart palpitations.
    • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.
    • Avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Get plenty of high-quality rest each night.
    • Exercise regularly 
    • Try to reduce your stress levels by practicing meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques.
    • Check your medications, both OTC and prescription, for adverse side effects. Some may cause perimenopause heart palpitations, which should then be discussed with your doctor.

    Other symptoms of perimenopause

    Apart from perimenopause heart palpitations, you may observe many other physical and emotional symptoms during the perimenopausal phase, including:

    • Irregular periods 

    At this time, the process of ovulation becomes unpredictable. Your menstrual cycles could get shorter or longer, blood flow during menses seems heavier or lighter, or simply disappears altogether.

    • Sleep problems and hot flashes

    The frequency, length, and intensity of hot flashes during perimenopause will vary. Sleep problems, on the other hand, can either occur on their own or in conjunction with hot flashes and night sweats.

    • Mood changes

    Irritability and mood swings, along with a greater likelihood of depression, are common symptoms (often linked to sleep disturbances). Note, however, that sometimes moodiness and signs of depression might be completely unrelated to perimenopause.

    • Bladder and vaginal problems

    Due to reduced levels of estrogen, your vaginal tissues lose elasticity and lubrication, leading to painful sexual intercourse. You’ll also be more prone to having vaginal and urinary tract infections, or potentially develop incontinence issues as a result of weakened muscle tone.

    • Reduced fertility

    You’re probably ovulating irregularly now, so your chances of conceiving should be significantly reduced. However, during the perimenopausal stage, you’re technically still capable of getting pregnant. So continue using your preferred method of birth control until you’ve gone at least one full year (12 consecutive months) without having a period.

    • Changes in sexual function

    You might observe subtle differences in sexual desire and arousal at this stage in life. However, if your sexual activity was satisfactory prior to perimenopause, then it’s likely to remain that way throughout your transition.

    • High cholesterol

    Dipping estrogen levels have been known to negatively impact your body’s ability to regulate blood cholesterol. This includes a spike in low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) levels, in turn, making you more susceptible to heart disease. Furthermore, the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) in the body could take a plunge as women age. Low HDL is another contributing factor for cardiovascular complications.


    Typically, heart palpitations and perimenopause triggered by hormonal shifts is a fairly normal occurrence. But to be on the safe side, remember to consult your doctor if you notice any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms. They can determine if your heart palpitations during perimenopause are related to an underlying medical condition. To protect your health, consider making positive lifestyle adjustments to help prevent the onset of perimenopause heart palpitations in the first place.

    History of updates

    Current version (16 March 2020)

    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant

    Published (16 March 2020)

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