Can PCOS cause heart palpitations? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss if you may experience heart palpitation due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We will also discuss other factors which may cause heart palpitations. This article will also inform you about other complications of PCOS apart from heart palpitations.

Can PCOS cause heart palpitations?

Yes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may cause heart palpitations. However, heart palpitations are not caused by PCOS itself but because of other complications associated with PCOS at later stages of the disease.

Heart palpitations are not common in the early stages of PCOS (1). PCOS accelerates the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), insulin resistance, and cardiac issues.

These conditions may cause heart palpitations, tachycardia, arterial fibrillation, and poor heart function (2). Heart palpitations are not a serious concern as they are brief and short-lived feelings of your heart racing and pounding in your chest.

However, if heart palpitations are accompanied by chest pain, difficulty in breathing, arrhythmias, and shoulder pain, consult your doctor immediately.

Why does PCOS cause heart palpitations?

PCOS is a complex endocrine-metabolic disorder that is common in women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by hypoandrogenism, infertility, and increased cardiovascular disorder. PCOS may also cause insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia.

This may lead to an increased risk of hypertension due to hypertrophy of vascular smooth muscle. The irregularities in the endocrine system also activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) (2).

The dysregulation of RAAS also elevates blood pressure and tissue perfusion. These factors are responsible for the association of PCOS with the development of heart palpitations, arrhythmia, and cardiovascular complications (3).

What does research suggest?

In one of the clinical studies, 23 women with PCOS indicated a decrease in modulation of the heart rate with increasing weight. A significant correlation was found between the incidence of heart palpitations in women who had a higher body mass index (BMI) (4).

On the flip side, one study claimed that there was no correlation between PCOS and cardiac autonomic dysfunction. The study also claimed that there was no difference in heart rate variability and heart rate turbulence in PCOS patients (n=23) in comparison to healthy women (5).

What are other complications of PCOS apart from heart palpitations?

The root cause of PCOS is both hormonal and metabolic. When one symptom of PCOS worsens, the other symptoms aggravate because of it. Some other complications of PCOS include:

  • Diabetes and insulin resistance,
  • Endometrial cancer,
  • Infertility,
  • High cholesterol levels,
  • Depression,
  • Metabolic syndrome,
  • Hypertension, and
  • Sleep apnea (6).

What other factors cause heart palpitation with PCOS?

Some other factors may also cause heart palpitation with PCOS.

Factor Reason
Strong emotional responses Hormonal imbalance, especially during mensuration, pregnancy, and menopause may cause depression and anxiety.
Sternous exercise It requires some time for the body to readjust to the normal adrenalin level.
Stimulants High intake of coffee, frequent smoking, and drug abuse (such as cocaine and nicotine) affect heart rate.
Thyroid dysfunction Hyperthyroidism increases the heart rate and may trigger abnormal heart rhythms (7).
Medications Side effects of certain drugs, such as antidepressants like Lexapro, Mirtazapine, and Cymbalta

How to manage heart palpitations due to PCOS?

Although heart palpitations are usually harmless, sometimes they may indicate the onset of a more serious and complicated heart disease. 

Talk to your doctor

Reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience frequent heart palpitations due to PCOS. You should also discuss your medical history, especially if you are hypertensive, have depression, or diagnosed with other cardiovascular complications.

You should also inform your doctor about your prescription and nonprescription medications. Your doctor may consider changing these medications or adjusting the dose to reduce the incidence of heart palpitations.

Seek emergency help if necessary

You should immediately seek emergency help if heart palpitations are accompanied by chest chain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea. You should try to stay calm during this situation and reach out to your doctor or a hospital.

As a healthcare professional, I would advise you not to ignore heart palpitations if they are frequent. You should consult your doctor if you experience any type of physical and mental changes which you think can have a prominent effect on the quality of life.

Your doctor will take into account these unexpected symptoms, including heart palpitations, and discuss further strategies with you. In addition, he will devise a specific treatment strategy to help reduce heart palpitations and other complications of PCOS.

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Zehir R, Karabay CY, Kocabay G, Kalayci A, Kaymaz O, Aykan AC, Karabay E, Kirma C. Assessment of atrial conduction time in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology. 2014 Nov;41:137-43.


Moysidis DV, Papazoglou AS, Tsagkaris C, Oikonomou V, Loudovikou A, Kartas A, Stalikas N, Karagiannidis E, Găman MA, Papadakis M, Christodoulaki C. Polycystic ovary syndrome triggers atrial conduction disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education. 2022 Jul 13;12(7):802-13.


Gafane-Matemane LF, Mokae NL, Breet Y, Malan L. Relation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system with potential cardiac injury and remodelling: the SABPA study. Blood Pressure. 2020 Jan 2;29(1):31-8.


de Sá JC, Costa EC, da Silva E, Zuttin RS, da Silva EP, Lemos TM, De Azevedo GD. Analysis of heart rate variability in polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology. 2011 Jun 1;27(6):443-7.


Özkeçeci G, Ünlü BS, Dursun H, Akçi Ö, Köken G, Onrat E, Avsar A. Heart rate variability and heart rate turbulence in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. The Anatolian Journal of Cardiology. 2016 May 1;16(5):323.


Peigné M, Dewailly D. Long term complications of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). InAnnales d’endocrinologie 2014 Sep 1 (Vol. 75, No. 4, pp. 194-199). Elsevier Masson.


Vargas-Uricoechea H, Bonelo-Perdomo A, Sierra-Torres CH. Effects of thyroid hormones on the heart. Clínica e Investigación en Arteriosclerosis. 2014 Nov 1;26(6):296-309.