Diabetes and Menstruation

Medically Reviewed By: DR. Rashmi GR, M.B.B.S, Diabetologist January 11, 2022

Last updated on April 18th, 2022

Different phases of the menstrual cycle might have diverse effects on a patient’s blood glucose levels. The effect might also differ from individual to individual as well as from month to month. Recording the level of blood sugar results may be useful in locating patterns in the sugar levels and help a person to better regulate the sugar levels. Diabetes might bring about uncommon modifications to an individual’s menstrual cycle. Similarly, the hormonal alterations that occur all through the menstrual cycle might have an effect on an individual’s diabetes. This article enlightens how diabetes has an effect on an individual’s menstrual cycle. In addition, it describes the relationship between menstruation, insulin, blood sugar, as well as the possible development of type 2 diabetes.

Menstruation

Menstruation is the time when estrogen and progesterone levels fall. The body sheds the uterine lining via the vagina. Generally, a menstrual cycle would persist for three to seven days. The menstrual cycle refers to the time duration between the initial day of one menstrual period as well as the initial day of the next. These cycles may differ from one person to another. The average duration of a menstrual period is roughly 28 days; however, they may range from 24 to 38 days.

How Does Menstruation Influence a Person’s Glucose Levels?

No specific answer exists for this question, as menstruation influences everyone in a different manner. On the other hand, a lot of females report having higher levels of blood sugar some days before their period initiate. A female may have raised levels of glucose all through her cycle; yet, it is found that females may experience a sharp fall in glucose levels. Thus, it’s best to be prepared for unanticipated modifications to occur.

How Can Diabetes Affect Menstrual Cycle?

Diabetics can have an enhanced risk of experiencing abnormal or erratic menstrual cycles.

diabetes and mentruation

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes must not have an effect on the uniformity of the menstrual periods or the bulkiness of an individual’s cycles. That said, menstrual abnormalities may at times happen during this condition. Menstruation may initiate any time during puberty; however, the average age is 12 years. Diabetes type 1 must not influence a person’s age at which she has her first period. On the other hand, it is found in few reports that later initial periods exist in individuals having type 1 diabetes. As long as the individual is not underweight as well as she is capable of managing her type 1 diabetes well, she must not experience any interruption in beginning her cycle.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetic patients are at an enhanced risk of anovulation. This happens when an ovary fails to release an egg into the fallopian tube. When this occurs, an individual would not have their period. Even though the risk of anovulation is greater in diabetics, not everybody with diabetes would experience it.

Developing Diabetes

There might be an association between abnormal menstrual cycles as well as the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A large-scale research study that included 75,546 females has established a possible relationship between menstrual cycle impairment as well as the development of diabetes type 2. The research study observed that people who had experienced long or abnormal menstruation in their teenage and adult years were more expected to develop type 2 diabetes as compared to people who had experienced consistent menstruation. As per the researchers, hormonal irregularities might play a key role in the association between abnormal menstrual cycles as well as the development of diabetes type 2.

They add that long and abnormal menstrual cycles are strong indicators of enhanced levels of insulin or hyperinsulinemia. This might activate a cascade of events that finally aggravate insulin resistance, in which the body is incapable of utilizing insulin in regulating the sugar levels in an effective way. In this study, a few other risk factors for diabetes type 2 involved being physically inactive, being obese or overweight, as well as taking a low-quality diet.

Also Read: what foods to avoid with diabetes

Blood Glucose, Insulin, and Menstrual Cycle Explained

During menstruation, modifications in the levels of hormones may impact insulin and blood sugar levels. Following ovulation, an individual enters the next half of their cycle named the luteal stage of menstruation. This stage is classified as an increase in the level of hormone, progesterone.

Enhanced progesterone levels may result in brief insulin resistance, which doctors name as luteal phase insulin resistance. Another study which included 6 females experiencing type 1 diabetes found that the levels of blood sugar were greater as compared to the levels during the luteal stage of the menstrual cycle.

Moreover, few individuals having type 1 diabetes are found to have reduced levels of blood glucose at the very beginning of their cycles. Also, they might require alteration in their insulin consumption consequently. The levels of blood sugar generally go back to standard limits after a period has ended.

Also Read: Can High Sugar Make You Tired?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Diabetes

PCOS is a health problem classified as unevenness in the levels of reproductive hormones. Individuals having this problem are found to have greater levels of hormones named androgens, which help in preventing ovulation.

Few signs of PCOS can be:

  • abnormal periods
  • acne
  • weight gain or problem in losing weight
  • darkened skin around the groin, neck, breasts areas
  • too many hairs on the face or body
  • thin hair on the scalp
  • skin tags in the armpits or neck region

As per the CDC, individuals having PCOS often experience insulin resistance, which in turn enhances the risk of diabetes type 2. This risk additionally enhances if an individual also is obese or overweight. The CDC, in addition, mentions that above half of individuals having this condition also are inclined to develop type 2 diabetes by the time they reach the age of 40 years. Individuals suffering from PCOS might also be capable of lessening this risk by maintaining a moderate weight by means of diet and regular exercise.

Also Read: Can diabetics eat mango?

Reason for the Rise in Blood Sugar Level Before or During Periods

Prior to and during the menstrual cycle, alterations in the hormonal levels, i.e., estrogen as well as progesterone may induce brief insulin resistance which may continue for up to some days and then fall. Few females have constant effects as to how their menstruation influences the level of blood glucose while other females might find that the effect on glucose level differs from one month to another month.

Also Read: Benefits of saunf

How to Deal With Periods?

The effect on blood glucose due to menstrual periods may alter from one month to another, hence keeping a diary of the numbers of blood sugar might assist to notice whether there are any patterns in the results across diverse months. If a person finds her sugar levels too high prior to or during the menstrual period, she might require to either inject a more amount of insulin (if insulin-dependent) or lessen the carb consumption. If a female enhances her dose of insulin, be cautious to avoid the condition of hypoglycemia as her insulin sensitivity may at times go back rapidly. Discuss with the concerned health team in case any suggestion is required about how to manage the insulin doses or carb consumption.

Enhanced Appetite

A female might also experience an enhanced appetite prior to menstrual periods. It is greatest to evade refined carbs (including white bread as well as sugary foods) in response to desires as these food items are found to enhance the levels of blood sugar which then results in added hunger. It is healthier to adhere to normal balanced meals in the best way she can.

Also Read: Diabetes and Cholesterol Relationship: Get Tips to Live Healthy With It

Birth Control Pill and its Effect on Blood Sugar Levels

If a female uses a birth control pill, she might experience a diverse effect on her sugar levels than when she was not consuming the pill. It is recommended to review a female’s glucose levels through the initial few cycles to perceive if a pattern appears in the results.

Treatment Tips

Below stated are a few treatment tips for diabetes care and mitigating the signs of menstruation.

Managing diabetes

It is all the more important that diabetics should exercise appropriate steps to monitor and control their levels of blood sugar during the menstrual cycle. If an individual has type 2 diabetes and is not using insulin, performing regular exercise assists in lowering down their blood sugar levels. Individuals might require to maintain regular exercise prior to and during menstruation or each time their sugar levels start to peak. Individuals might also find that their appetite enhances prior to their period. Thus, in order to prevent sugar levels from elevating, they must try to evade refined carbs. A few examples of refined carbs may involve white rice, white bread, pasta, pastries, sodas, breakfast cereals, as well as foods consisting of extra sugars. If an individual is using insulin, they might require a dose modification during their menstrual cycle along with managing their consumption of carbs.

Managing menstrual signs

The following home remedies are a great help in mitigating menstrual period pain and other menstrual signs:

  • consuming OTC pain relievers
  • aiming to get roughly 8 hours of quality sleep every night
  • applying a warm bandage to the lower back or abdomen
  • stress management using relaxation or mindfulness approaches
  • doing regular exercise and consuming healthy foods all through the menstrual cycle

Also Read: Burning Feet – Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Home Remedies

Summary

Individuals having type 1 or type 2 diabetes might be at an enhanced risk of experiencing abnormal or random menstrual cycles. It is vital to note that hormonal modifications that take place all through the menstruation phase might also have an effect on an individual’s sugar levels. Hormonal variations may activate certain alterations in the levels of blood sugar as well as insulin levels. As a result, diabetic patients require exercising the necessary steps to manage these alterations. An individual must consult with the concerned doctor if they suffer from diabetes and are experiencing or unusual or irregular menstrual cycle. She can also discuss with a doctor if she is finding it difficult to manage her blood sugar levels during her menstrual cycle.

FAQs:

Can I check my blood glucose with period blood?

As per the new research, menstrual blood may also be utilized to identify 8 important biomarkers, such as cholesterol and hemoglobin A1C, the latter of which is vital in regulating diabetes.

How do periods influence diabetes?

Roughly the time of a female’s menstrual period, she produces several hormones. These might alter the levels of blood glucose, and such alterations are diverse for every female. Many females having type 1 diabetes find their glucose levels rise 3 to 5 days prior to initiating the period.

Can diabetes influence fertility?

Yes, diabetes is found to have an effect on the ability to get pregnant and efficiently conceive. Diabetes is found to affect fertility and reproductive health in both males and females. Diabetes is seen to result in hormonal disruptions which may give rise to delayed or failed implantation or conception.

Will I bleed more if I have diabetes?

One reason why diabetic patients suffer more impairment during strokes has been discovered by US scientists. A research study found a protein that enhanced bleeding when the glucose levels are high. Raised glucose levels have been associated with at least 1 in 10 strokes.

References:

  1. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/periods-and-diabetes.html
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-diabetes-affect-period
  3. https://diatribe.org/women%E2%80%99s-health-diabetes-and-periods

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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