(By Dr Rujul Jhaveri, Consultant Gynecologist at NH-SRCC Children’s Hospital)
Often overlooked but important for women with diabetes is the connection between diabetes and their menstrual cycle. By understanding this relationship, women can better manage their health and improve their overall well-being.
Effect of cycle on blood sugar level:
Your menstrual cycle can have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels. Many women experience fluctuations in insulin sensitivity during their cycle. During your period, your body needs more insulin to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. It is important to monitor your glucose levels closely and adjust your insulin or medication as needed.
Hormones and blood sugar:
Hormonal changes that occur during your menstrual cycle can affect insulin resistance. For example, the hormone estrogen can increase insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering blood sugar levels. Conversely, other hormones such as progesterone can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to increased blood sugar levels. Being aware of these fluctuations helps you make necessary dietary and medication adjustments.
Management of symptoms:
PMS symptoms become more intense in some women with diabetes. High blood sugar levels can increase common symptoms like irritability, fatigue, and cravings. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels and make lifestyle adjustments during this time to minimize these effects. Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can make a significant difference.
Menstrual Irregularities and Diabetes:
Women with diabetes often experience menstrual irregularities, such as irregular cycles or even stopping of menstruation. Poorly managed diabetes can affect the endocrine system, leading to disrupted menstrual cycles. If you notice significant changes, consult your healthcare provider to address the problem immediately.
Diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition in women with diabetes. PCOS can affect fertility and insulin resistance. It is important to manage both diabetes and PCOS, and your doctor can help you create a tailored plan to deal with both conditions.
Understanding the complex relationship between diabetes and your menstrual cycle empowers women to take responsibility for their health. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, lifestyle adjustments, and open communication with healthcare providers are important steps in managing diabetes during your period.
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