I have seen many posts here that describe my life almost exactly, but they are a couple of years old and I cant seem to find an update or resolution post for any of them. So I am bumping up this topic in the hope that someone, somewhere will chime in with answers.
History in a nutshell... 50 year old female, feeling of intermittent irregular heartbeat since as far back as I can remember, although it seems worse in recent days. History of IBS. Although some of the IBS symptoms have subsided in recent years, I still suffer from excess upper left quadrant gas and can actully feel and can move the bubbles of gas when I palpate the area. Have had Upper GI, GB series (both negative), EKGs, echocardiograms, holter monitors, stress tests.
All cardiac tests show multiple PVCs throughout, although it is interesting to note that the rate of PVCs lessened as the stress test progressed. As far as meds, I have tried digestive enzymes both prescribed and OTC, peppermint oil, lemon supplements, magnesium, anti-gas products, breathing techniques. Each time I try a remedy, it seems it may be working (mind over matter?) only to have the symptoms soon return.
I absolutely, without a doubt, know that the stomach issues and the PVCs are related. Docs more often than not tell me that the PVC symptoms make me anxious and therefore cause the stomach symptoms, I intrisically feel it is the other way around.
I have been keeping a journal over the past 3 or 4 years in the hope of noticing a "pattern" or a "clue", and in reading back through the journal, I have noticed a few common threads. One is that my symptoms lessen in the months between october and december. I have also noticed a connection between seasonal allergy symptoms and PVCs. Having read prior posts, it may be possible that the increased sneezing could trigger the vagus nerve. I have also noticed a decrease in symtoms after eating cantelope (not sure what the connection there would be, but it did happen on numerous occasions.) And stress definitely has an impact as well, I will be the first to admit to that.
My question is basically if anyone out there has found a way to a least decrease if not totally cure this problem? The impact this has had on my life is sad, and I fluctuate between anger and depression over the implications. Since so many here seem to be suffering from the same thing, I am praying that someone has discovered a resolution.
Well, it is more likely for the IBD to occur due to the PVC’s than the PVC’s occurring due to the IBS. As you already suspect, another likely possibility is that these both occur due to a common reason like increased sympathetic/ adrenaline states and the environmental conditions you have noted yourself. It’s interesting to note that your PVC’s improve with stress. The vagus is a depressing nerve stimulation of which usually improves the increased sympathetic/ adrenaline states and the PVC’s.
Whatever the reason treatment would involve avoiding the associated factor that you have noted, if possible; and appropriate medications that might be helpful. Increased amount of PVC’s may be improved with some cardiac interventional procedures.
Hope this is helpful.
Please help me to understand your comment..."The vagus is a depressing nerve stimulation of which usually improves the increased sympathetic/ adrenaline states and the PVC’s. "
The stress I am referring to is the physical stress within an exercise stress test. I have also noticed that walking briskly also helps. I have taken note on these and other forums that many sufferers report improvement with walking/running. Other physical stress, such as house cleaning, painting, washing the car, etc. do NOT seem to offer improvement and in some cases makes the symptoms worse. Please explain how this does/does not relate to your comment above.
I am very interested in the vagus nerve and its function, and as a registered nurse, I prefer to explore scientific reasoning.
I had made the statement short since a layman would not be able to understand the details. The vagus has primary parasympathetic actions which is depression of heart rate, relaxation etc. Now if the vagus is stimulated (which can be done by valsalva, carotid massage etc.), it would normally cause a decreased heart activity i.e. stimulation of vagus leads to heart activity depression. Physical stress would indirectly lead to increased 'stimulation of the heart'. It is however interesting in your case how increased stress is associated with improvement in symptoms (while usually the reverse is true). The likely mechanism is an escape rhythm which is overpowered by the SA node activity or the sinus rhythm in increased stress or increased stimulation of the heart. Also to mention that this is just a theoretical possibility and may not be the mechanism in you case.
Hope this information is helpful.
Thanks for the thorough explanation. It is interesting though how many participants on this and other forums seem to feel that stimulation of the vagus nerve, actually worsens their PVC symptoms. This would be contrary to your explanation, correct? Perhaps there is some general misunderstanding of the negative feedback cycle of the vagus nerve and increased HR is being incorrectly associated with vagus nerve stimulation.
Interestingly, in my case, when HR is increased following a heavy meal or from emotional stress, the symptoms are indeed worse. So, for me, increased HR in and of itself seems independent of the cause of the PVCs. Even with keeping a journal for multiple years, I have been unable to narrow down a "cause". I am leaning heavily toward psychological stress factors, in turn causing very physical reactions. When I take a walk or when I increase HR during exercise stress test, it provides positive feedback that I am not going to die from the symptoms. I also find comfort when I read how many others are experiencing a similar plight. I am in no way saying the physical symptoms aren't real, but rather the mind can be a very powerful thing.
Thanks again, I will mention your suggestion to my cardiologist at the next visit.
I also have PVC's and PAC's for the past 6-7 years. I had cardiac ablation done (ablated an extra AV node) but that was for PSVT (Tachycardia) and I had my mitral valve operation in 2008 - and still after all of this, I have frequent PVC's and PAC's. I also suffer from life-long GERD and have Barrets.
I am seeing a new Gastro Ent and when he looked at my reports, history he checked my pulse and also noted the irregular beats and said that it is all related to GERD.
After a lot of tests (numerous EKG's, holter monitors, cardiac reveal implant, heart related surgery) I now know one thing: the extra and irregular heartbeats ARE NOT DANGEROUS and will not kill me. So I've learned that I should live with it and be thankful that my heart is beating at all!
You can get beta-blockers and medication to fix the heart rate, but the side effects is low bloodpressure and can sometimes makes you feel worse!
So my advice to you: don't let your heartrhythm spoil life for you. Make peace with it as if might follow you for the rest of your life.
Hi, and thanks for the pep talk. There are days when I can in fact, accept the symptoms as nothing more than an annoyance. But there are other days when I am just so frustrated and feel compelled to find an answer/cause or any piece of information that may help.
There is a book called "Hope and Help for your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weeks, which I turn to in my moments of frustration. In it she discusses many physical symptoms that may be attributed to anxiety. She never denies the symptoms, but offers suggestions of how to "accept and live with it." At the very least, it offers encouragement, as do these forums, that one is not alone. This in an of itself, can sometimes be the best medicine.
This topic is old but I found it and thought I would at least chime in. I am a 52 year old male who has had PVCs since I was a young boy. The doctors back then (early 70s) chalked it up to a heart murmur and told my parents I would likely grow out of it. Over the years I have also noticed a definite connection between stomach and heart. I also suffer from GERD that comes and goes. When my GERD is flaring up, so do the PVCs. I also believe that stress plays a huge part in this equation. Let me explain ... I was a very nervous kid. Had constant stomach aches and was one of those geeky kids who did not fit in. My PVCs were horrible in my teen years but then almost stopped altogether from my mid 20s to about 40. What changed? I did! I grew out of my awkward teen years, got a life, got a job, got married and a home of my own, found a great group of friends and became socially outgoing. I know there is a connection. That 15 years or so I had little to no stress in my life. Then... I got divorced at 40 and shortly afterwards my life fell apart. I had job problems, got downsized, almost lost my house .. severe financial problems. Guess what came back like a bolt from the blue? Yep .. good old PVCs. Fast forward a few years. I got remarried and we bought a new home and a very stable financial and home life. Once again my PVCs all but disappeared entirely. Lately, my wife and I have been coping with her daughter moving back home after college. It is causing us mental and emotional and also financial stress. I do not sleep good lately and my GERD has started flaring up bad. My PVCs in the last 8 months have been off the charts. I know there is a direct correlation. The million dollar question is: What to do about it? Diet/exercise? Vitamins and/or supplements? Lifestyle changes? Weight loss? All of the above? Surely someone has experienced all of this and made changes and everything clicked. Anyone still out there??? Anyone??
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