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Monday, December 18, 2006

Diabetes and the Menstrual Cycle

Hormones interact with each other, and this complicates diabetes management in women when they menstruate.

Estrogen and progesterone levels vary during ovulation. This can make blood glucose rise just before a menstrual period. This rise is transient, and returns to the normal level as soon as monthly bleeding commences.

A woman of reproductive age with diabetes may require adjustments to medication, especially insulin, during various stages of each menstrual cycle. Not all women respond in exactly the same way, so blood glucose levels must be titrated separately for each individual.

Some women, who experience PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome), may develop a craving for certain foods before ovulation. Such desires are best directed towards sugar and fat free things to eat, and preferably with plenty of fiber, but can contribute to pre-menstruation blood glucose elevation if a woman gives in to temptation and indulges in some calorific snacks!

Other women prefer not to exercise during their monthly periods, which can also contribute to blood glucose elevation. Medically, it is best to adhere to an exercise regimen throughout each menstrual cycle.

Do make it a point to check blood glucose frequently during a typical menstrual cycle, if you are a young adult woman with diabetes. Your physician will be able to use records of your tests to suggest how medication doses can be adjusted for even blood glucose control.


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