Women & Diabetes
The Menstrual Cycle And Diabetes
Fluctuations in hormone levels occur through the menstrual cycle and these fluctuations can affect blood sugar control. When estrogen levels are naturally high, your body may be resistant to its own insulin or injected insulin. Many women find their blood sugar tends to be high 3-5 days before, during or after their periods.
Since everyone is different, the only way to manage blood sugars in a setting where sensitivity to insulin changes is to test and record blood sugars four or more times a day the week before, during and after your period for at least 2 or 3 months to find your own pattern. This allows you to adjust your insulin doses and carb intake both before and during this time to better control your blood sugar.
Premenstrual symptoms (PMS) can be worsened by poor blood sugar control. It helps to chart your feelings such as tenderness, bloating, grouchiness for a week before, during and after your period. Charting will help you know when your PMS reach their peak during your period so that before your PMS is most severe, you can check your blood sugar more often and take extra insulin or exercise to bring high blood sugars down.
Food cravings during PMS are triggered by an increase in progesterone and can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Usually the craving is for chocolate or sweet foods. Give in to your cravings by trying sugar-free and fat-free versions, such as chocolate pudding. Take extra insulin or increase your exercise to compensate.
You may feel less like exercising during your period. If so, extra insulin may be a good choice for keeping your blood sugar from rising. The extra insulin needed to overcome insulin resistance during this time will not cause weight gain. Treat yourself well during this time and keep your blood sugar controlled as well as possible.
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