Menopause is the time in a woman’s life that the ability to reproduce ceases. It is usually a natural alternation that occurs in women, when they reach their late 40s or early 50s, and this can have a severe impact on how women deal with their diabetic control.
Menopause has been known to affect women emotionally and physically. Hot flashes, feelings of sadness, inability to think clearly and limited energy are a few of the more common symptoms associated with menopause. The hormonal changes also have a direct impact on blood sugar control.
Due to the fact that low glucose levels and menopause can cause the same type of symptoms (such as sleepiness and moodiness), some women may self-diagnosis these symptoms, and assume that consuming a sugary snack will help. The problem is that unless, symptoms are properly diagnosed, this type of self-treatment may cause a dangerous spike in blood glucose levels.
As menopause approaches, the production of progesterone and estrogen slows, and both of these hormones affect insulin sensitivity. Diabetic complications can also worsen, when these hormones are no longer produced naturally by the body. For instance, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases may increase due to low estrogen levels.
In some cases, women may choose to go on a hormone replacement therapy, to combat some of the negative symptoms associated with menopause and replace estrogen and progesterone (the hormones that the body is no longer producing on its own).
Unfortunately, menopausal women that have diabetes will not be able to take HRT (hormone replacement therapies), because it impacts their blood sugar levels.
Women who have diabetes, and are also at the stage of their life that they are experiencing menopause, may experience some, or all, of the following symptoms:
SLEEP DEPRIVATION. Night sweats are a major cause of disrupted sleep patterns, and when you are unable to get quality sleep on a regular basis, cortisol levels elevate, which leads blood sugar levels to rise.
SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. Vaginal dryness is a symptom that many menopausal women experience, when the level of estrogen drops. This can cause pain and discomfort during intercourse.
WEIGHT GAIN. Many women experience weight gain during this time in their life, due to the hormonal fluctuation. Diabetic medication doses may need to be adjusted, to accommodate for this possible weight change.
YEAST INFECTIONS. Because of blood sugar fluctuations, menopausal women that suffer with diabetes are more likely to experience yeast infections. Once estrogen levels are reduced, it becomes easier for yeast to grow and thrive within the body.