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Palpitation/PVC's and link to Menopause?
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Palpitation/PVC's and link to Menopause?

  I recently read a Q&A from the Prevention Magazine site that mentioned that there may
  be a link between Heart Palpitations and Menopause/Perimenopause. I have PVC symptoms
  that tend to show up a week before my cycle, which was one of the perimenopause/palpitation
  symptoms menioned in the article. I'm meeting with my OB/GYN to discuss the possibility
  that I may be perimenopausal and the PVC's might be a symptom (among many others)of that.
  I was wondering if there  was any further information on this link that I could take to him
  for reference. My OB/GYN did one of his residencies in Cardiology and we've discussed my PVC's before
  as part of a regular exam. Because of this link to menopause, I'm going to see him instead
  of my regular family practitioner.
  I'm 29 years old and have been experiencing PVC's for about three years. A electrocardiogram,
  cardio stress test, and Holter test showed me to be "completely normal" but the PVC's continue.
  They have abated somewhat since I cut caffeine out of my diet completely and limited alcohol
  to a rare occasion, but have not gone away completely.
  Thanks for any info
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Dear Kay,
Thank you for your question.  The link between PVC's and menopause is observational only.  That is some doctor's have noticed that their patients complain more of PVC's during this period in life.  There are no research studies explaining why some people notice this.  I would be surprised if menopause if the source of your PVC's but your Gyn will be able to tell you for sure.
Below is a brief summary of what a PVC is, what causes them and the treatment (if any) for PVC's.  You can find additional information in an article in New England Journal of Medicine, May 7, 1998, Vol. 338, pages 1369-1374. Your local medical library will have a copy of this.  Hope this helps.
    PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) are "extra" heartbeats occurring out of sync with the normal regular rhythm of the heart.  PVC's may cause no symptoms at all or may be felt as a "irregular" heartbeat or as the sensation of a "hard heartbeat".  PVC's  are common findings in persons with otherwise normal hearts, in which case the prognosis is excellent and there is no decrease at all in life expectancy.  On the other hand, they may indicate that there is an underlying abnormality of the heart muscle (from any number of reasons).  If there is an abnormality, then the prognosis and treatment depends upon the specific problem of the heart.  The usual evaluation of PVC's is a history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram (ECG).  Also your doctor may wish to check an ultrasound of the heart.  If all those tests are normal, then you would fall into the category of people who have PVC's but otherwise no underlying heart problem. In that case, treatment depends on how much the PVC's bother you. If they are essentially asymptomatic, then no treatment is required. If they bother you, then a medication called a "beta-blocker" may reduce the frequency of the PVC's. PVC's can't be "cured", but the medication can decrease their frequency. The potential side effects of beta-blockers are tiredness, impotence in men and breathing difficulties in individuals with underlying lung disease.  Be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor and under no circumstance should you take medications for the heart without the supervision of a doctor.
Below are some web sites with additional information about PVCs.
http://www.amhrt.org/Heart_and_Stroke_A_Z_Guide/prevent.html
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhlbi/cardio/other/gp/arrhyth.htm
http://www.MedicineNet.com/Forum.asp?li=USA&ag=Y&ArticleKey=1946
http://www.onelist.com/
Information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Only your doctor can provide specific diagnoses and treatments. If you would like to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic, please Call 1 - 800 - CCF - CARE for an appointment at Desk F15 with a cardiologist





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