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Adrenaline surges and menopause
margaretmr posted:
I'm a 57 yr menopausal woman (periods stopped within the past year), and the only other health issue I have is meniere's disease which is currently in remission after steroid injections (no vertigo for 5 months, and low level of daily disequilibrium).

Recenlty I have been frightened by weird sensations mostly when sleeping where a huge rush surges from about my throat down through my chest causing me to panic instantly, because my chest feels tight and I feel like, seriously, I am about to die. I then lie there, too scared to try to go back to sleep. Eventually I do and when I wake up I feel normal.

Today, after a long road trip in which I was just a passenger (so not too stressful) upon getting home, standing at my kitchen table the same thing happened. I nearly collapsed bec. I was standing up when it occured. The chest tightness and "flush" feeling only lasted seconds but then radiated out my arms and legs causing tingling in both, and in the back of my head.

Could this be caused by menopause? Is it an adrenaline rush? Should I see a doctor? I mentioned the Meniere's disease because the fluid building up in my ears in the past has caused vertigo and dizziness, but this feels completely different.
Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
Dear margaretmr,
Indeed, these symptoms may well be related to menopause; sort of an equivalent to the hot flash, which is related to surges of epinephrine and norepinephrine. However, I would recommend that you check in with your primary care physician (or cardiologist, if you happen to have one). With these type of symptoms, I always suggest ruling out heart or other medical issues, before assuming it is menopause related. If all is well, which I hope it would be, you may well be a good candidate to try some transdermal low dose estrogens, to see if you can prevent these episodes from happening.
But again, I would check things out with the medical folks first.
Good luck,
Mary Jane

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For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website