Metabolic Health

Things to Know About Diabetes and Periods - Sugar.Fit

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Things to Know About Diabetes and Periods

A typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, with a normal range of 21 to 35 days, with the bleeding lasting from 3-7 days. Menstruation is the period during which progesterone and estrogen levels fall and the body loses the uterine lining via the vagina. A menstrual cycle usually lasts 3–7 days when a person has a normal cycle. The menstrual cycle makes a lot of impact on the female body and when combined with health issues like PCOS and diabetes, periods become even more difficult than they already are. 

Diabetes and periods together are a difficult thing to deal with. You may be unaware that hormonal changes may have an impact on other physiological processes as well. This is particularly true for women who deal with diabetes and periods and face specific obstacles and dangers throughout their reproductive and menstrual cycle.

Women who have diabetes and periods may have a larger risk of having irregular or unpredictable menstrual cycles. Different types of diabetes affect the period cycle differently. Usually, type 1 diabetes does not affect the menstrual cycle or the bleeding. Women with type 2 diabetes however may experience anovulation. Anovulation is when the ovaries do not release the egg into the fallopian tube which causes a break in the menstrual cycle. 

How Can Diabetes Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?

Having diabetes makes a huge impact on the menstrual cycle. Since diabetes causes hormonal fluctuations in the body which in turn impact the menstrual cycle and this keeps going on in a loop. Studies show that type 1 diabetes is a manageable condition as type 1 diabetes does not significantly affect the period cycles in women. 

Type 2 on the other hand, comes with a lot of complications. Here’s how it affects women’s bodies :

  • Hormonal fluctuations may alter insulin and blood glucose levels throughout the menstrual cycle. 
  • Following ovulation, a woman starts the second half of her menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase. This stage is distinguished by a rise in progesterone levels.
  • Increased progesterone levels may produce transient insulin resistance, which doctors refer to as luteal phase insulin resistance.
  • Blood glucose levels were found to be higher during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, according to a research conducted in 2013, which included six females with type 1 diabetes and periods. 
  • Studies suggest that women with type 1 diabetes may have decreased blood glucose levels during the beginning of their periods. They may need to adjust their insulin consumption as a result. After a time, blood glucose levels normally return to normal.
  • A rise in progesterone may also stimulate food cravings for simple carbs and make it difficult to exercise. This may exacerbate poor glycemic (blood sugar) management.
  • If you have diabetes, it is critical to watch your food and activity throughout the luteal period. If you take diabetic medication, it is very vital to monitor your blood sugar on a frequent basis in order to maintain glycemic control.

Blood Sugar, Insulin And The Menstrual Cycle 

Diabetes has a significant effect on the menstrual cycle. Diabetes produces hormonal imbalances in the body, which in turn affects the menstrual cycle, and this cycle continues indefinitely. 

According to research, type 1 diabetes is a controllable illness since it has little to no effect on women's menstrual periods. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, has several problems. Throughout the menstrual cycle, hormonal variations may affect insulin and blood glucose levels. Following ovulation, a woman enters the luteal phase of her menstrual cycle. This stage is distinguished by a rise in progesterone levels. Increased progesterone levels may cause transitory insulin resistance, often known as luteal phase insulin resistance. According to studies, women with type 1 diabetes may have lower blood glucose levels around the start of their periods. As a consequence, their insulin usage may need to be adjusted. Blood glucose levels usually return to normal after some time. A surge in progesterone may also cause food cravings for simple carbohydrates and make exercise difficult. This may worsen poor glycemic (blood sugar) control.

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Tips To Manage Periods For People With Diabetes

person with diabetess must take precautions to monitor and regulate their blood glucose levels during the menstrual cycle. Following the doctor’s advice and regularly taking their medication is a must.

Regular exercise may help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes who are not taking insulin. People may need to exercise regularly before and during menstruation, as well as anytime their blood glucose levels begin to rise. People's appetites may rise before their period. They should aim to avoid processed carbs to keep blood glucose levels stable.

Using home remedies such as using a heating pad on your abdomen, getting quality sleep, eating healthy and maintaining your usual routine during your menstrual cycle are ways to help alleviate the discomfort and pain caused during periods. 

Bottomline

Diabetes may interfere with natural menstruation, and menstruation can interfere with diabetes treatment. This is an endless loop that may make person with diabetess' lives difficult. Increases in progesterone before your menstruation might cause transient insulin resistance and a surge in your blood sugar. The same is true if you have diabetes and use hormonal contraception, which raises progesterone levels even further. Diabetes, on the other hand, might increase the risk of irregular periods and anovulation (failure to ovulate) owing to an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels. There is also an increased risk of delayed menarche (late commencement of menstruation) and early menopause in those with type 1 diabetes. Regardless of weight, type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Only if a person is overweight or obese does the risk rise.

FAQ

Why does blood sugar rise before or during periods?

Changes in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone before and during your period might cause transient insulin resistance that can linger for a few days and then subside. This is what causes the blood sugar levels to remain elevated. Since all bodies are different, menstruators see the differences from cycle to cycle or sometimes even consistently. 

Can diabetes cause irregular periods?

Diabetes and periods are closely related. Having diabetes can make an impact on the menstrual cycles and cause irregular periods. Type 2 diabetes may cause anovulation in some cases which may cause the period to get delayed or skip a month entirely. 

What are the signs of diabetes in a woman?

If you’re wondering ‘can periods affect blood sugar?’ then yes, it can. Here are the warning signs of diabetes in women:

  • Vaginal or oral yeast infections
  • UTIs
  • Painful intercourse
  • PCOS
  • Having an irregular period cycle, especially if you have regular periods.

How do you know if your diabetes is out of control?

You can determine if your diabetes is out of control when:

  • Your sugar levels are consistently high
  • You experience infections and itchiness more often
  • You feel an increase in dehydration
  • Your appetite is either too high or too low
  • You have experienced unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent bad breath
  • You’re having trouble while urinating

While these are not exhaustive ways of knowing that your diabetes is out of control, they are the major warning signs that occur. If you experience any of these, consult a doctor immediately. 

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