Causes Of Heart Palpitations
Although there are several causes for heart palpitations, certain traits, conditions or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart palpitations:
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive amounts of alcohol consumption over the years.
- Excessive amount of caffeine or other stimulants.
- Extreme emotional stress.
- Extreme physical exertion
- Long history of cigarette smoking and/or drug use
- Dehydration: when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.
- Certain cold and cough mediations .
Other conditions that may contribute to development of heart palpitations:
- Thyroid disease: a condition that is caused by the over or under function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an essential organ for producing thyroid hormones, which maintains the bodys metabolism.
- Heart surgery
- Heart arrhythmias
Understanding The Causes Of Heart Palpitations
Q1. Can heart palpitations be related to hormone levels in women?
At some point in their lives, most people have heart palpitations, which are caused by a deviation from the normal heartbeat. Palpitations can range in severity from a mild fluttering to a pounding beat or even to a feeling that the heart has stopped, and they can be often linked to stimulants like caffeine , nicotine use, or too much alcohol. But palpitations can also occur due to the hormonal changes related to pregnancy, menstruation, and the decreased estrogen levels associated with perimenopause and menopause. Some women who use hormone therapy to counteract menopausal symptoms also complain of heart palpitations. Other possible causes include anxiety and stress, lack of sleep, and exercising too strenuously.
Are you doing everything you can to manage your heart condition? Find out with our interactive checkup.
Q2. Sometimes I experience heart palpitations. What are they, and should I be worried?
Palpitations are heartbeats that are noticeable because they feel fast or irregular. They are often described as a throbbing in the chest, throat, or neck as rapid or racing heartbeats or as skipped or stopped beats.
There are many common culprits behind palpitations, including:
- Vigorous exercise
- Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, diet pills
- Anxiety, stress, fear
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Heart disease
Learn more in the Everyday Health Heart Health Center.
Can Iuds Cause Heart Palpatations Or Arrythmia
I had an IUD inserted a few years ago after having my second child. Shortly after, I began having irregular heartbeat and was eventually diagnosed with SVT. After two heart surgeries and nearly two years of medications, I still had the palpatations. However, after having my IUD removed, I noticed the palpatations stopped. I know this may sound crazy, but can IUDs cause heart problems? Have other women had this experience?
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Cleveland Clinic Heart Vascular & Thoracic Institute Cardiologists And Surgeons
Choosing a doctor to treat your abnormal heart rhythm depends on where you are in your diagnosis and treatment. The following Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Sections and Departments treat patients with Arrhythmias:
- Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing: cardiology evaluation for medical management or electrophysiology procedures or devices – Call Cardiology Appointments at toll-free 800.223.2273, extension 4-6697 or request an appointment online.
- Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery: surgery evaluation for surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation, epicardial lead placement, and in some cases if necessary, lead and device implantation and removal. For more information, please contact us.
The Deadly Side Effects Of The Birth Control Pill
Now lets get in to specifics.
The pill is a dangerous drug.
One of the biggest guarantees of you getting in touch with your femininity, your sexuality and your sensuality, is your hormones.
And the birth control pill exposes women to synthetic hormones.
It is very unhealthy for a woman to be exposed to synthetic hormones.
In fact, long-term use of this drug can cause women to develop serious chronic illness.
The birth control pill depletes a womans body of important nutrients, can cause the thinning of your bones, increases your risk of developing breast cancer and blood clots.
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How Birth Control Pills Wreck Havoc On Your Feminine Hormones
60 million women in America and Europe take oral contraceptives. In my opinion, this is a tragedy.
Let me explain why.
The birth control pill: one of the biggest threats to your Femininity, your health, your relationship, and your ability to attract the man of your dreams.
It is also probably one of the major causes for any health problem you currently have in your life .
Im also going to tell you that the birth control pill can really mess up your ability to choose the right man.
It can cloud your judgment when it comes to knowing whether you are with the right man, and it can cause relationship breakdown.
If you dont have the time to digest the information in this article, Im going to simply tell you this:
Start using alternative contraception methods .
Making An Informed Decision
Armed with this new information, I decided to dig a little deeper. I put in a call to Draion Burch, DO, OB-GYN clinical assistant professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
FAST FACT: 14% of pill users take the pill exclusively for non-contraceptive purposes, and 58% take it in part for reasons other than contraception. Among the latter group, the most common reason was to reduce cramps or menstrual pain.
Dr. Drai began by outlining some of the common short-term side effects of the pill: bloating, nausea, breast tenderness, and breakthrough bleeding. I was lucky never to have suffered any of those side effects. We then moved on to discuss more serious, long-term side effects like the risk of blood clots for women over 35, which he confirmed is true and is even more significant for women who smoke or who are overweight.
Since arrhythmias are linked to blood clots and have a strong genetic component, I asked Dr. Drai if this should factor into my decision about the pill. He said that at this point – despite my family history – I am at no greater risk of developing blood clots than anyone else over 40. But, he cautioned, if Im ever diagnosed with any type of heart condition, including arrhythmia, I should stop taking birth control pills right away.
- I now take the pill at night so it metabolizes while Im sleeping.
- I down it with a large glass of water.
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How To Slow The Palpitations
Early research shows that stress, insomnia, and depression may be contributing factors. So, making changes to reduce stress, sleep better, and treat depression may help. Here are some more steps to take at home.
Get a baseline. Find out what your normal pulse rate during exercise and at rest. This will help you calculate how much faster your heart is beating during palpitations. Menopause heart palpitations may increase heart rate by eight to 16 beats per minute a larger increase may indicate a more serious issue.
The easiest way to check your heart rate is with a fitness tracker like a FitBit or Apple watch or a chest strap monitor like Polar. Sometimes an episode can feel worse than it really is and seeing that your heart rate isnt as elevated as it feels can be reassuring. It is also helpful information to share with your doctor.
Limit caffeine. Its stimulant that may contribute to heart palpitations. Remember, coffee isnt the only source of caffeine. Non-herbal teas, including green tea, contain the stimulant. Even decaf teas have a little caffeine. Chocolate, energy drinks, and soda are other sources.
Read drug labels. Over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, allergy remedies, and diet pills, often contain ingredients that are stimulants, which may affect your heart. If youre taking any of these or any prescription meds and experiencing irregular heartbeats, check with your doctor to find out if they may be related.
When To See A Doctor
While such palpitations are usually harmless, they should not be ignored.
A woman experiencing palpitations is strongly advised to consult a doctor for a diagnosis, and to rule out any abnormalities.
Doctors will particularly want to investigate if the palpitations are linked to a shortness of breath, dizziness, or chest discomfort.
Menopause heart palpitations can increase heart rates by 8 to 16 beats per minute. Some women, however, have reported much bigger increases, with their heart rates reaching up to 200 beats per minute.
Menopausal women who experience irregular heartbeat are often treated using natural methods. When the problems are caused by reduced levels of estrogen, the treatment can involve lifestyle changes and natural remedies combined.
A few lifestyle changes may help to cut down the occurrence of menopausal palpitations. They include:
- reducing caffeine intake by drinking less coffee and other caffeine-heavy drinks
- cutting back or avoiding stimulants, such as cigarettes and alcohol
- practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga, mindfulness, and breathing exercises
According to the British Heart Foundation , women, in general, have a lower risk of being affected by coronary heart disease before the menopause. Afterward, the risk of CHD increases and continues to rise.
Women experiencing unpleasant symptoms may be prescribed hormone replacement therapy to help relieve these.
Other ideas for lifting oneâs mood include:
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The Effect Of The Pill On Your Sex Drive
Most of you may already know that taking the birth control pill can permanently damage a womans sex drive.
As I have discussed before, the only difference between a relationship and a friendship is intimacy.
And if your sex drive is low, non-existent, and causing your hormones to go out-of-whack, your relationship is going to suffer.
To learn more about why sex is important in a relationship, please see my article on 5 Reasons Why Women Shouldnt Deprive Their Man of Sex.Most women do report some sort of change in their sex drive when they are on the pill.
Management Of Irregular Heart Rhythms In Women
Treatment options include:
Medications antiarrhythmic drugs are medications used to convert the arrhythmia to normal sinus rhythm or to prevent arrhythmia. Other medications may include heart-rate control drugs anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs such as warfarin or aspirin, which reduce the risk of blood clots or stroke.
Concerns for women: Because women have a longer QT interval than men. some medications that are used in men to treat irregular heart rhythms prolong the QT interval even more. These medications include Quinidine, Sotalol, Dofetilide, and Amiodarone. These medications may increase a woman’s risk of developing a life-threatening arrhythmia more than in men who take these medications. Women who take these medications should follow their doctors and dietitians dietary guidelines for potassium and avoid becoming low in potassium, which enhances the arrhythmia affect¹.
The biggest concern for all patients with atrial fibrillation is preventing blood clots or stroke. Warfarin is most often used to prevent strokes in patients. According to The Canadian Registry of Atrial Fibrillation , women were half as likely to be prescribed warfarin as compared to men, although they would benefit from it as much².
Lifestyle changes arrhythmias may be related to certain lifestyle factors. Here are some ways to change these factors:
Quick Read Palpitations Are Often But Not Always Harmless
- Heart palpitations can feel like a faster, slower, harder or irregular heartbeat.
- Anxiety, caffeine or alcohol commonly cause palpitations.
- Heart palpitations may also be caused by abnormal heart rhythm disorders called arrhythmias.
- Arrhythmias are often accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain or dizziness.
- Try a heart-monitoring app or visit your doctor if youre concerned.
Youre sitting at home at night, maybe watching TV or checking your phone, when suddenly your heart feels weird.
Maybe it feels like it skipped a beat or added an extra beat. Maybe it feels faster or harder than usual.
Youre trying not to worry, but its your heart, after all, so youre starting to feel kind of anxious. Plus, you think you saw somewhere that COVID-19 can cause heart palpitations.
Heres everything you need to know about heart palpitations including when theyre a sign of something serious.
How Can It Raise Heart Risk
You may hear your doctor call the pill “hormonal” birth control. As the name suggests, it’s got hormones in it, including estrogen and progestin. There are other methods to keep yourself from getting pregnant that also have them in it, like injections, IUDs , the patch, a device implanted under the skin called Nexplanon, and the vaginal ring.
Studies show the hormones in these kinds of birth control can affect your heart in many ways. They may raise your blood pressure, for instance. So if you take birth control pills, get your blood pressure checked every 6 months to make sure it stays in a healthy range. If you already have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor to see if another way to prevent pregnancy would be better for you.
Women who take certain birth control pills may see a change in some of their blood fats that play a role in heart disease. For example your levels of HDL “good” cholesterol could go down. At the same time, your triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol may go up. This may cause a gradual buildup of a fatty substance called plaque inside your arteries. Over time, that can reduce or block the flow of blood to your heart and cause a heart attack or a type of chest pain called angina.
Estrogen in birth control pills can also raise your risk of blood clots.
Your chances of heart disease and other complications are higher if you:
- Are older than 35
My Birth Control Pill Almost Killed Me
At 5’9,” 140 pounds, and 36 years of age, the stats were on my side: I was nearing my 40s, but in what I’d consider the best shape of my life.
Physically, I felt great. I worked up a sweat running, at barre class, or learning pole fitness-the latter of which I’d even entered a competition for. But, mentally, I was a ball of stress. I’d made it through a divorce, moved to a new town with my daughter, and embraced a new title: single working mom. My writing career was booming. I had a new book on the horizon, and regular TV appearances. But at times, I felt the walls closing in. That is until one day, the walls became those of a hospital room.
But let’s start from the beginning: a Tuesday morning in June. The summer sun was shining and I had a busy day lined up. As I headed out for the first meeting of the day, I noticed sharp pains in my side. I chalked it up to a muscle strain. After all, I was often strained after a rigorous pole fitness session. But while trekking through Manhattan, the pains moved to my back later that night, to my chest, to the point where I saw stars.
According to Lauren Streicher, M.D., the likelihood of a blood clot for a woman who’s not on birth control pills is two or three for every 10,000. The likelihood when on birth control pills is eight or nine for every 10,000 women. That was just a worst-case scenario though. I’d simply be sent home with some pain meds, I thought.
Heart Palpitations Should Be Evaluated By Your Primary Care Provider
Of course, any recurrent irregular heartbeat warrants a full evaluation by your practitioner, and maybe a visit to a cardiologist, to rule out any abnormalities.
Once they have ruled out any serious underlying condition, women are often told that their symptoms are due to stress or hormone fluctuations. They may be offered prescription drugs. Women tell us that this feels like being dropped with no explanation or suggestion for relief when the doctors cant find anything wrong with them!
Heart Disease & Birth Control At A Glance
- The estrogen in birth control pills and in hormone patches, implants, vaginal rings and injections can cause an increase in blood clotting, which could result in a heart attack. However, birth control pills are relatively safe for most women, particularly women younger than 35.
- Women who have any form of heart disease should not take hormone-based birth control methods without consulting their physician.
- Women who are at greater risk for heart attack due to age, obesity, smoking or other contributing factors should also consult their doctor about using hormone-based birth control.
Telling Your Doctor About Your Palpitation Symptoms
Because palpitations can appear suddenly and pass just as quickly, it can be difficult to get a handle on your specific symptoms. Being aware when heart flutters take place can help your cardiologist narrow down the cause and nature of the issue.
Take note of how the palpitations feel is your heart pounding? Skipping beats? Does your heartbeat feel irregular? Taking your pulse when you feel palpitations can help you verify whether your heart is beating abnormally fast. You should also keep in mind the context and duration. Its not unusual to feel your heart flutter briefly during intense exercise, but if you find the feeling lasts more than a couple minutes at a time, you should talk to a cardiologist.
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