Q: Is this what perimenopause feels like?
I’m a 41-year-old woman in a high-stress career, and I feel like I may be heading into perimenopause. Lately, I’ve been having heart palpitations and noticing that I’m shedding hair. Does this mean I’m too stressed and need to get back into yoga, or could my hormones be to blame?
A: First, we need to identify and address the root cause.
It’s true that heart palpitations can be caused by hormonal changes and/or stress. There are also other explanations to consider, including fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, low blood pressure, some medications, caffeine, and other stimulants. If your palpitations are frequent or severe — causing dizziness or pain — you should seek immediate medical attention.
When it comes to hair loss, hormone changes are often the first thing we think about. In perimenopause, a decline in estrogen and progesterone can lead to hair loss and thinning in some women. It can also occur with aging, low thyroid function, infections like COVID, medications, nutritional deficiencies like vitamin D, and yes, stress.
The important thing is to address the root of the issue. Here are the steps I would recommend to restore balance and help you feel your best.
1. Test your levels.
To rule out a hormone imbalance, the first step is to check a female hormone panel and thyroid labs. These tests should include estradiol, progesterone, FSH, LH, DHEA-S, SHBG, free and total testosterone, TSH, and free T4. The Lifeforce Diagnostic measures all of these biomarkers, so that’s a great place to start.
2. Talk to a doc.
If there is an imbalance, it’s important to speak with a physician that has experience working with women’s hormones. Our Lifeforce physicians are happy to help! In consultation with your doctor, you can see if our hormone optimization treatment options are right for you.
3. Get your stress in check.
While stress may or may not be a factor in your symptoms, stress management is a good idea for everyone — especially given the world we live in today! Persistent stress has been linked to hormone imbalances, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmunity and mood disorders. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are all wonderful ways to help manage stress. The key is to find something that you enjoy and practice it regularly.
— Dr. Kimberly Hartzfeld, DO, OB-GYN, Lifeforce Physician
Have a Question for Us?
Connect with us on Instagram @golifeforce. We may answer your question in the next edition!
This article was medically reviewed by:
Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Kimberly Hartzfeld, DO, ABOG American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, IFMCP Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner