Ladies, any pattern to your afib?

My problems with my heart started when I was very young and have always coincided with my period and ovulation. I have other triggers too but mostly hormones. This theory of mine was laughed at by every doctor especially when I was younger but as I've gotten older it seems to be more accepted, acknowledged but still mostly ignored 😉

I was just wondering if there is anyone else that has seen a correlation between their afib and their menstrual cycle or sudden onset at menopause or worsening of episodes during pregnancy?

15 Replies

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  • That's interesting Kelly. My attacks have usually occurred about every 4-6 weeks, so there could be a connection for me too. I'm looking forward to seeing what other responses you get on here.

    Jean

  • Hi jean, that is interesting. I use an app on my phone to track my period, ovulation and episodes of afib and around ovulation my heart is very unpredictable then again the day before my period. When I was younger the doctors totally refused to accept what I was saying but now I'm in my 40s they seem to accept that women "my age" get palpitations???!!!! I'm also really interested to see how many people under the age of 50 present with afib or svt especially women? All through my experiences with my heart I've been repeatedly told this is a condition more prevalent in the over 60s which has been very isolating.

    Kelly

  • Hi Kelly. My arrythmias started after i had my first baby and worsened when i was pregnant with my second. Like you, my cycle DEFINITELY affects how symptomatic i am...one cardiologist did tell me that having your period often makes periods worse. So yes...definitely definitely hormones affect my arrhythmias and i don't care what anybody says..that is a A FACT for me!!!! Dread to think what i will be like in the menopause lol. I also empathise with you about feeling isolated as i also get told when i am in hosp this is very unusual at our age. Best wishes

  • Hi Vony,

    I had very bad episodes with my heart when I was pregnant with both my girls too. I'm 43 now and menopause is a word I'm hearing more and more and like you I'm quite fearful about how my heart is going to react?! I'm hoping that as the hormones drop off my heart will get calmer, fingers crossed!

    I am like you, no matter what anyone says I know that my hormones are the biggest trigger if not the reason I have afib. I have found it very frightening having this and not being able to talk it over with anyone especially people my own age. considering everything I read says it's the most common heart problem I've never met anyone that has it?!?!?!

  • Kelly, my AF episodes first started at age 48 and almost always coincided with same point in menstrual cycle.I mentioned this to Cardiac doctor and she said that this was probably because one is more vulnerable during this time.

    Before AF became fully recognised , women who were probably having episodes were just thought of as ' having one of her funny turns '(!!)

    Sandra

  • Thanks Sandra, I don't personally believe it's because we are more vulnerable I believe it's being driven by changes in our hormones. I know completely what you mean about "funny turns" it's been very interesting to me that over the age of 40 women are almost expected to complain of palpitations and the word menopause gets mentioned with more frequency but under the age if 40 it's all panic attacks and anxiety related!!

  • Absolutely. I now know af started when I was about 30... after a really busy, stressful but exciting time. Doctors said it was stress, I believed them, and any time I had a 'turn' put it down to being overtired. Male friends who had 'turns' shot off to the hospital but I tended to put up with it thinking it was my fault! Don't think it is that rare. My cousin has been diagnosed at 38 and I believe my grandfather was diagnosed at 30. Def runs in the family. It took a worse turn 6 years ago, but nothing showed up on tests until a 5 day monitor. Bingo! Slapped on to warfarin and the rest.....

  • Yes, cyclic estrogen fluctuations can trigger AF. I think it is no coincidence that many women, me included, have the first episode at the onset of menopause.

  • Hi Kelly,

    Your autonomic nervous system controls your heart beat and as the name suggests that controls a lot of the automatic responses in your body. I'm not too well up on hormones and how they are controlled, "glands" controlling hormones, rings a bell...but again even these I think are controlled from nerve centres in the brain ultimately.

    Anyway...if your emotions and hormones can have an effect on your autonomic nervous system, I would imagine this could affect your heart beat too!

    x

  • Hi Kelly, my problems started when I tried to reduce my HRT which I had taken since I had surgery at the age of 33 that was in 1976. My doctor wanted me to come of the HRT at the age of 55 so I cut back the dosage and eventually stopped it for some while. I did recommence HRT however but In 2001 I had my first proper AF episode and eventually had an ablation in 2008. I did ask if the hormone therapy reduction / menopause was related to this but dr didn't know. I took the decision to stay on hormone medication and I have since stayed on a low dose patch and it does seem to keep me on the straight and narrow so to speak.

    Our systems seem to be hormone led so any help is a bonus! I still have little episodes infrequently but I have a PIP to sort this out.

    Jackie

  • My first prolonged, true afib episode occurred shortly after GP took me off HRT (at age 65), and later when I asked cardiologist if going off estrogen could be why I began to have afib, he answered "probably". Unfortunately, by then, the tipping point was passed, and returning to HRT didn't help. Ablation sure did, though.

  • Thanks so much for all your helpful replies. 😊

  • Yep.... didn't know I had AF when younger; just thought that my blood pressure dropped around the time of my period. Actually it did and made me feel very tired. The effort my heart had to make to keep me upright and functioning during that time would set off palpitations if I 'pushed' things. (which I always did and do!) Now I am older, I realise that one key trigger for af is getting over-tired.... so it all makes sense now. Yes, at menopause, hot flushes would set me off too. The secret.... don't over push your poor body when it craves a bit of rest!

  • I am 66 years and suffered palpitations around my period. I remember as a young woman sitting on the couch with my baby with my heart pounding out of my chest. Dr wrote it off as reaction to coffee, etc but I always knew it was something more.

    During the time of perimenapause around age 48 I went through a life changing divorce and at same time my younger sister was battling breast cancer. The stress my body was under was so severe that my GP put me on an anti anxiety medication and told me when things calm down not to be surprised if I get sick. Sure enough with all the stress the palpitations got worse and sure enough a few years later I landed in the emergency room in AFib with a 168 HR. The moral of my story is that yes our hormones play a major role with us ladies but the stress of life can set us into a tail spin. My advice to any younger women on this forum would be to take the time to nurture yourself and get support for stress before the stress makes you sick. Gracey

  • Hi gracey, what a lovely message. Xx

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