Have you ever felt like a tiny bolt of lightning shot through your body? This feeling has been named electric shock sensation, and some women in menopause are among those who sometimes experience it. What’s it all about and how can you manage it?
What is electric shock sensation?
Electric shock sensation is a phenomenon that some people describe as having electricity surge through the body. It’s an uncomfortable, sharp, and frequently painful sensation that lasts only seconds. Although it’s not entirely understood, it seems to be associated with the central nervous system and the brain-estrogen connection.
The discomfort or pain you can experience from electric shock occurs because the neurons in the brain misfire. No actual harm happens, but you do feel varying degrees of pain.
How is an irregular heartbeat associated with menopause?
Experts believe that electric shock sensation may be caused by fluctuations in estrogen levels that occur starting in perimenopause and during menopause. As the hormone levels change and decline, the signals transported to the brain may be misunderstood or short-circuited and result in the electric shock sensations.
How do you manage irregular heartbeat naturally?
You can make some lifestyle changes to help minimize or even eliminate electric shock sensation.
- Minimize stress. Fortunately there are scores of ways to manage stress, but the secret is consistency: practice stress reduction methods daily. It’s best to have several methods or habits at your disposal so you won’t get bored or tend to skip them. Meditation, deep breathing, exercise (that you enjoy), progressive relaxation, yoga, tai chi, dancing, listening to soothing music, walking in nature, and spending time with pets are just a few of the methods you can use.
- Take magnesium. This mineral can help relax the nervous system and thus minimize the opportunity for shocks to occur. You can take a supplement (about 250 mg daily) or include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as leafy dark greens, avocados, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
- Get more omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are important for a healthy, functioning nervous system. Salmon, tuna, walnuts, and flax seeds are helpful, as are omega-3 supplements.
- Eliminate saturated fats. Many meats, dairy foods, and baked goods contain saturated fats that can interfere with blood circulation. Choose more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean meats.
- Cut caffeine and alcohol use. Both of these substances can make electric shock sensation worse. Eliminate their use completely or at least significantly cut down and see if you don’t notice a difference.
- Get more sunshine exposure. The sun’s rays not only help build vitamin D in the body; it also can work to stabilize the nervous system.
- Get wet. Alternating between warm/hot and cool/cold water can help restore balance to the nervous system. You can do this by taking a hot shower followed by several seconds (or more) of a cold shower (but avoid your head). You may also alternate putting your left arm in warm/hot water for 30 seconds, removing it, and then putting your right arm in the water. Do this several times.
- Go barefoot. Walking barefoot in grass or sand has been shown to restore harmony to the nervous system. This grounding method may assist in eliminating electromagnetic radiation that your body absorbs from your environment and electronic devices.
- Try French maritime pine bark. This supplement, known as Pycnogenol®, has been studied for menopause symptom treatment. One study found that women who took 100 mg daily of Pycnogenol for 8 weeks showed a significant improvement in the occurrence of electric shocks when compared with women who didn’t use the supplement.
- Stay hydrated. Insufficient water intake can contribute to zapping sensations, so be sure to drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water daily.
When to see your doctor
Electric shock sensation is typically harmless and disappears as you enter postmenopause. However, if your zapping sensations are disrupting your life or you have other concerns, please contact your healthcare professional for an evaluation.
If you are in perimenopause or menopause and having periods of short, sharp electric shock sensations, don’t panic. These generally harmless jolts are the result of misfiring nerve cells in the brain and should disappear once you graduate to postmenopausal years.