Here’s Why Menopause Can Cause Anxiety And Heart Palpitations

Can menopause cause anxiety and heart palpitations? While menopause has a wide range of symptoms for different people, yes, anxiety and heart palpitations can be two of these symptoms. Understandably, their sudden emergence can be worrying, especially if you haven’t experienced either of them before. But we thought it might be helpful to understand the cause behind these changes and even more helpful to know what you can do about it.

Why Do You Experience Anxiety With Menopause?

Trust me, you are not losing your mind! As much as it feels like it, it’s just the hormones. With menopause your feel good hormone progesterone starts to fall, alongside your oestrogen. If you suffered from PMS, or reproductive depression, this change in mood will more than likely occur again with perimenopause and menopause, as it is related to changes in our ovarian hormone levels. 

Anxiety can encompass panic attacks, worrying about everything, social and health anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and confused, feeling unable to cope and being overly fearful. It is made a lot worse by lack of sleep (helpful when no doubt you are unable to sleep due to hot flashes) and also blood sugar imbalances.

How Your Nervous System Works

To get a better grasp of the relationship between anxiety, heart palpitations and menopause let’s take a closer look at your nervous system. Your nervous system has two halves – one half is called the sympathetic and this side is the one that kicks in to get us out of stressful situations and is responsible for the fight or flight response.

The other half is called the parasympathetic – this is our relaxed side, it helps with digestion and resting. The vagus nerve is part of this side of your nervous system – and it is a long nerve. It goes through the whole body – in fact it is called the wandering nerve (vagus means wandering in Latin). When the vagus nerve is stimulated it slows your heart rate, and it moves you from fight or flight and helps you relax.

Some ways you can activate your vagus nerve are:
-        Deep slow breathing
-        Laughing, singing and humming
-        Acupuncture and yoga
-        Cold showers – or at least splashing your face with cold water

Activating our vagus nerve is a great way to ‘snap’ yourself out of the worry or panic.

Can Menopause Cause Heart Palpitations?

Can menopause cause anxiety and heart palpitations? Yes, along with anxiety another side effect sometimes experienced with menopause is the occurrence of heart palpitations. The over activation of your nervous system can lead to heart palpitations - which can feel quite scary especially if you have never experienced them before.

The activation of fight or flight response makes
your body work harder to get out of the stressor. This means releasing adrenaline in response to the stress (or in this case irregular hormone release and production). Which directly affects your heart, the adrenaline makes it work faster. So this can feel like palpitations.

What Can You Do To Help?

If you are one of the women who have experienced an emergence of anxiety with the onset of menopause there are lots of things you can do to help. 

Meditation - Breathing exercises like meditation can help stop the fight or flight response. This will also help with the physical symptoms of heart palpitations caused sometimes at the onset of menopause.

Slow movement like yoga and pilates.

Sleep routines (no screens before bed, reading and a regular bedtime). Some people swear by weighted blankets to help with deep sleep and nervous system regulation.

Nervine plants like chamomile, Californian poppy (like in our Rest and Calm), passionflower, lemon balm and St John’s wort (like in our Mood Boost) to help manage stress hormones and also encourage sleep and relaxation. Not only can chamomile help anxiety it will also help the physical symptoms of heart palpitations caused by menopause.

Increasing the good fats in your diet – like omega 3 that can be found in fish or hemp oils.

Increasing your B12 from food (which is red meat) or supplementation to help build up your red blood cells and regulated nervous system.

Good carbs. You need carbs. It helps with GABA (feel good hormone) production. So please don’t cut the carbs. Embrace the potato, kumara or rice (even hot chips).

Magnesium – this guy again - but this essential micronutrient helps calm adrenal glands, relax the nervous system and supports sleep, blood sugar balancing, helps to improve insulin sensitivity and you need it to help get rid of excess oestrogen. Plus, it helps with energy production.

Turmeric – super anti-inflammatory and has antidepressant properties, as well as antioxidant and can help with period pain and heavy periods which happen with perimenopause. We use turmeric in our Anti Flam Tonic, a turmeric tonic is a great way to reap the benefits of this amazing plant.

Plants that can help

There are some great plants that can help with both the heart palpitations and anxiety that come with menopause. Motherwort relaxes and supports the heart. It eases the tension and anxious feelings that can cause and occur from an irregular heartbeat and works as a tonic by supporting the cardiovascular system. 

Sage is also another great plant for the anxiety that comes with menopause. Its volatile oils can help bind to your GABA receptors which means it can help with increasing your feeling of wellbeing. It also then helps induce more relaxed feelings which can help with anxious feelings.

We use sage and motherwort, along with yarrow and red clover, in our Hormone Balance, which was formulated specifically to help with the symptoms of PMS and perimenopause.


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While menopause can cause heart palpitations and anxiety, if you have tried some natural approaches and are still finding these symptoms are stopping you from living your life to the fullest, you could talk to your medical professional. Things like hormone support, hormone replacement therapy, or other medications might help support your mood. It is important that you talk to people and don't suffer in silence. As always, we are always here.

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