Menstruation, Menopause & Diabetes

How can you manage diabetes during menopause?

Ask any woman: It can be difficult to weather "that time of the month" and "the change." But managing these episodes when you have diabetes adds a whole set of complications. Here's what you need to know to make these two experiences smooth sailing.

A new wrinkle to your menstrual cycle

Some women with diabetes find their blood sugar levels don't stay steady over the week before and during their period. "Most commonly, we see women having higher blood sugars pre-period, and then these drop down when they begin to menstruate," says William Petit, MD, medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. The culprit: those fluctuating hormones that accompany your cycle.

But not everyone is the same, and you need to determine how your body is affected. "Each woman needs to recognize her own pattern," says Dr. Petit, because the effects can be variable.

To see if hormones affect your blood sugar levels, make a note of the days when you have your period in your blood glucose record book. Here, you should already be recording blood sugar levels (as instructed by your doctor, generally at least two to four times a day) as part of your standard diabetes management. You can look for emerging patterns and speak to your endocrinologist or other healthcare practitioner about the best plan for managing your diabetes at various times of the month to keep blood glucose levels optimal.

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