Last month I wrote quite a bit on the topic of anxiety in perimenopause.
I thought I would kick off 2013 and the month of January by extending the conversation to include heart palpitations and panic attacks.
I know. Lovely, right? What woman expects to have anxiety, heart palpitations, and panic attacks during perimenopause? Yet, believe it or not, they are very common symptoms.
Dr. Jennifer Landa, with Body LogicMD weighed into the anxiety and perimenopause conversation last month, by telling us that many women suffer with anxiety during perimenopause because of low progesterone levels.
“Women can feel overwhelmed and easily stressed without enough progesterone. For many women, this leads to anxiety issues, including tension headaches, palpitations, and digestive issues, and in some cases, even full blown panic disorder.”
It should also be pointed out that adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, and unbalanced serotonin levels – all of which can be issues for women in perimenopause – can also contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, and heart palpitations.
Hot flashes can give the feeling of heart palpitations, panic, and anxiety
In fact, I’m of the personal opinion that when a woman is struggling with severe symptoms of perimenopause, the severity is usually a combination of many things, and not just one thing.
I mention this because it may be that even if you use bioidentical progesterone to treat the symptoms of anxiety, heart palpitations, and panic attacks, you may still feel anxious and have continued issues.
If that is the case, it would be wise for you to have your thyroid function checked, discuss possible adrenal fatigue issues with your physician, or consider that you may also be having issues with serotonin imbalance.
Hot Flashes Connected to Heart Palpitations & Panic Attacks?
I’m going to honest here, folks, this is a new one on me. However, interestingly enough, Dr. Petruzelli points out that hot flashes affect the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, which is a function of your adrenal system, so I can definitely see how they could be connected:
“Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause. A hot flash is felt as an intense feeling of heat and can be accompanied with redness and swelling of the face, neck, and chest.
Hot flashes can give the feeling of increased heart rate, palpitations, anxiety, irritability, and panic. It is possible that a hot flash affects the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for “fight or flight” responses.
This is why medication such as Clonidine can help hot flashes, along with some antidepressants. Obviously, bioidentical hormones such as estrogen and progesterone help hot flashes too.” Dr. Anita Petruzelli
I want to continue this discussion in future posts. Because so many issues can contribute to anxiety, heart palpitations, and panic attacks in perimenopause, I think it’s important to break them down and discuss each one of them in more depth. However, I do want to encourage you to give serious consideration to using bioidentical progesterone if you are having trouble with these symptoms.
It’s not a cure-all, but so many women report feeling considerably better once they start using it. I am one of those women, and I can’t ring the bell loud enough. If after using it, you still find you have ongoing issues, then by all means, have those things checked out further.
But, do yourself a favor, and at least begin with using bioidentical progesterone. At the very least, you’ll sleep better. Guaranteed!
¹Dr. Anita Petruzzelli practices anti-aging and preventive medicine at BodyLogicMD of Hartford, helping women and men suffering from menopause, andropause and other hormone imbalances achieve a longer, better life. Using individual, customized wellness programs tailored to address each patient’s specific, personal needs, Dr. Petruzzelli combines customized nutrition and fitness regimens, pharmaceutical-grade supplements, stress reduction techniques and natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to ensure her patients enjoy restored energy, improved mental clarity and the highest quality of life possible.
Dr. Petruzzelli stresses the importance of treating the whole patient by finding the root of the issue, instead of simply using a one-size-fits-all treatment approach for individual symptoms. Her practice emphasizes the prevention of disease and encouraging optimal overall health, rather than tackling illness once it has already occurred. Dr. Petruzzelli is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience to ensure each and every patient can enjoy living life to the fullest.