I caught a glimpse of an elevated heart rate on my Apple Watch this morning, while sitting at my desk, which was quickly followed by a personal heat wave. I proceeded to closely monitor my heart rate for the next hour. My office has south-facing windows, so feeling warm while I work is not an infrequent occurrence. But having a heart rate more than double my usual resting heart rate is unusual, especially given I was just sitting there.
While simultaneously trying to reduce panic and increase intentional and slow breaths, I jumped into research mode. Is this a hot flush? A result of having COVID a couple of weeks ago? Anxiety I didn’t realize was hanging out at the moment? All hard to know. I do know that when I watch my heart rate being higher than usual, it creates more anxiety that likely keeps it higher than usual. When I look away and take those long, slow breaths, it goes back down.
This all led me to start asking some questions of a Custom GPT I made recently. I’m calling her FlashyAF, your friendly, badass, AI-powered perimenopause expert.
*Note that what’s below is not medical advice. For additional understanding about hot flushes, please consult a human medical professional.*
Prompt: what are the key things i need to understand about hot flushes?
“Alright, let’s dive into the fiery world of hot flushes! These little internal infernos are like your body throwing a spontaneous, unwelcome party, and guess what? You’re the guest of honor.
- Hormonal Rollercoaster: Imagine your hormones are on a wild rollercoaster ride during perimenopause. Estrogen levels are dropping, and this hormonal tango messes with your body’s thermostat, located in the brain. Result? Hot flushes.
- Heat Waves: It feels like you’ve suddenly stepped into a sauna. Your face, neck, and chest might turn red, and you’re suddenly sweltering. This could last for a few minutes or feel like an eternity.
- Sweat It Out: Along with the heat, comes the sweat. It’s like your body decided to start its own splash park, without your permission.
- Timing is Everything… and Nothing: Hot flushes are like that friend who shows up unannounced – could be day, could be night. Nighttime hot flushes, or night sweats, can disrupt your sleep, which is not exactly what you need during this time.
- Triggers Galore: Certain things can trigger hot flushes. Spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, stress, a warm room – they’re all like hitting the ‘start’ button on your internal heatwave.
- It’s Not Just You: You’re not alone in this. Many individuals going through perimenopause experience hot flushes. It’s like a club, but not necessarily one you wanted to join.
- Duration Varies: For some, hot flushes are brief guests, staying for a few months. For others, they’re like relatives who overstay their welcome, lasting for years.
- Therapy Options: From hormone therapy to natural solutions, and yes, even the exciting realms of VR and AR, there are ways to manage these symptoms. It’s about finding what works for your unique self.
- Mind Over Matter: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other mind-body techniques can be surprisingly effective. They’re like mental air conditioners, helping you control your body’s responses.
- Your Experience is Unique: Just like your favorite playlist, your experience with hot flushes is uniquely yours. What works for one person might not work for another. It’s all about tuning into your body’s needs and rhythms.
So, there you have it – a fiery yet informative ride through the world of hot flushes. Remember, you’re in charge, and with the right tools and attitude, you can turn down the heat on these uninvited guests. Stay cool, stay fierce! 💪🔥💖”
Would you use a perimenopause-focused Custom GPT as a guide? If yes, I’d love to hear from you.