Menopause is a time of hormonal change for women, when estrogen and progesterone production decreases. Menopause is considered complete a year following a woman’s last period. This normally occurs when a woman is around 50.
Menopause can cause hormone levels to change, and can also cause blood glucose levels to change. Hypoglycemia can be one of the first signs of menopause for a diabetic woman. During menopause, women often have to change their medication or insulin dosages. Monitoring the blood glucose levels is the key to managing diabetes during diabetes.
Women with type 1 diabetes may experience menopause earlier than other women. Women with type 2 diabetes may go through menopause later than other women, particularly if they are above the suggested weight. Estrogen levels do not decrease as rapidly in heavier women.
Sometimes during menopause, women find they have negative sexual side effects. These can include vaginal dryness, increase in yeast infections, and urinary tract infections. See your doctor to discuss how you can manage these side effects, with possible hormone replacement therapy, or changes to your insulin and medication.
During menopause, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle. Some women stop exercising during menopause, and then they begin to gain weight, which in turn affects their ability to absorb insulin. It is also important to keep track of your diet during menopause, because having a well-balanced diet not only helps with diabetes management, but also with coping with menopause.
Consider cutting alcohol and caffeine out of your diet to limit hot flashes. Both alcohol and caffeine alter your body’s natural homeostasis and, as such, can worsen many problems associated with menopause. Eating legumes and soy products can help you during menopause as well. These contain phytoestrogen (plant estrogen), and as such, can help you stabilize your hormones.
One of the major difficulties for diabetics in dealing with menopause is the fact that some of the symptoms of diabetes and menopause can be very similar. Both menopause and low blood sugar can cause dizziness, elevated body temperatures, moodiness, and short-term memory loss. High blood sugar, like menopause, can cause fatigue. The way to tell if your symptoms are diabetes related or menopause related is to test your blood sugar. This means that you will have to do more blood testing than you are used to, but it also means that you won’t accidentally give yourself a surge in blood sugar because you mistook your menopause symptoms for signs of low blood sugar.
While many doctors treat menopause as a medical “condition” or “problem” that needs to be treated, remember that menopause is actually a natural transition for a woman. Try to change your lifestyle before changing your medication.
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