Periods (Menstruation) and Diabetes

Periods may be accompanied by changes in blood glucose
Periods may be accompanied by changes in blood glucose

Different stages of the menstrual cycle may have different effects on your blood glucose levels and the effect can also vary from person to person and from month to month.

Recording your blood glucose results can be helpful in finding patterns in your levels and helping you to better control your diabetes.

How will my period affect my sugar levels?

There is not a definite answer to this as periods affect each one of us differently.

However, many women report having higher blood sugar levels a few days prior to their period starting.

During your period, you may experience high blood sugar levels but some women notice a sharp drop in sugar levels so it’s best to be prepared for unexpected changes to happen.

Why does blood sugar rise before or during periods?

Before and during your period, changes in the level of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can induce temporary resistance to insulin which can last for up to a few days and then drop off.

Some girls and women have consistent effects as to how their period affects blood sugar whereas other women may find that the effect on blood sugar varies from one month to another.

Coping with periods

The effect on blood sugar as a result of periods can change from one month to another so keeping a diary of your blood glucose numbers can help you to see if there are any patterns in your results across different months.

If you are finding your blood glucose levels go very high before or during your period, you may need to either inject more insulin (if insulin dependent) or reduce your carbohydrate intake.

If you increase your insulin, be careful to avoid hypoglycemia as your insulin sensitivity can sometimes return quickly.

Speak to your health team if you need advice on how to manage your insulin doses or carbohydrate intake.

Increased appetite

You may also experience an increase in appetite before your period. It is best to avoid refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and sugary foods) in response to cravings as these foods raise blood glucose levels which then causes further hunger.

It is better to stick to your normal balanced meals as best as you can.

Contraceptive pill and effect on blood glucose levels

If you take a contraceptive pill, you may experience a different effect on your blood glucose levels than when you weren’t taking the pill.

It is advisable to review your sugar levels through the first few cycles to see if a pattern emerges in your results.

Explore Periods