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During peri-menopause, the years leading up to menopause, surges and reductions in estrogen and progesterone can affect women in various ways: Mood changes, increased PMS signs, menstrual periods that are more or less frequent, heavier or lighter blood flow during menstruation. These hormonal changes can affect women with diabetes by causing blood glucose to fluctuate. For some women this is scarcely noticeable as estrogen and progesterone production is reduced gradually over the years. However, for many women, fluctuations in blood glucose can mean that they need to blood test more frequently and make appropriate adjustments to maintain a comfortable balance. For women with type 1 diabetes, more frequent hypoglycemia may be the first sign that hormone levels are decreasing and insulin adjustment may be necessary.
Not all women will experience hypoglycemia, however. Women with type 2 diabetes may experience weight gain, often related to a reduction in physical activity, and this may cause an overall increase in blood glucose. This is a time when many women are actually diagnosed with diabetes. If you have such variations in hormone levels that, despite your best efforts, you find it is impossible to achieve the blood glucose range that you obtained formerly, your physician may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Whether or not to use HRT is a decision each woman needs to make in consultation with her physician.
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