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Type 1 and Menstrual Cycle

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by Rocker_C, May 2, 2019.

  1. Rocker_C

    Rocker_C · Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    So glad to see that there is a forum to ask questions about my partners diabetes. My question is, what is your experience or understanding of the menstrual cycle and its impact on your sugar levels?my partner is struggling at the moment and we think weve pinned this rollercoastering effect down to her monthly cycle. Pre ovulation she has an average lower sugar level and is more predisposed to going low, when she's changing in hormone levels she's more susceptible to getting fluctuating sugar levels and then finally when she's post ovulation she's generally higher in sugar levels. What she seems to be struggling with at the moment is pre ovulation she'll eat as she always has, but the glucose isnt hitting her system. Then she'll be going lower so she'll eat a bit more to get the sugars up and then when she reaches a certain level her insulin seems to have zero effect until she's spiked pretty high and its like the sugar levels are holding back from being released until she's had quite a lot of glucose. She's eaten the same for years now and rarely changes anything about the way she eats, her routine stays quite similar and her dosing is similar. Any ideas on how she can approach this? The hospital specialists she sees seem to fob her off on it as if its normal but this isn't normal for her and her quality of life is being affected.

    Thank you
    RC
     
  2. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Expert
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  3. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome to the forum.
    I am sure the other ladies will chime in soon!
    it is very typical for insulin resistance to increase in week 4 of your cycle then decrease.
    If your partner uses a pump she could set up a different basal profile based on those low vs. high weeks. It helps if she has a regular cycle.
    If she is injecting then I'd advise altering her basal insulin.
    I think this approach is worth trying because the relevant hormones are causing her insulin needs to rise and fall rather than what she is eating as you have already identified that she is not over treating those hypos nor eating more or less carb than usual in response to hormonal cravings etc.!
    Is she peri menopausal or menopausal btw? That can obviously change things and just like pregnancy can make things unpredictable where previously she was stable.
     
  4. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
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    H @Rocker_C yep I'm on the same page, it's not normal but unfortunately with the changing hormone cycle it's very common with menstruation, I too have been fobbed off but as with anything hormone related it does have an effect. My cycle isn't regular though so one month I will be heavily insulin resistant and the next it will be fine. A pump would help greatly as you can set up a basal pattern to manage insulin resistance which can be changed quickly for 'back to normal. One doctor recommended a hysterectomy however I am not keen to undergo such a radical procedure to counter this, perhaps nvestigate other options with your GP ?
     
  5. Diakat

    Diakat Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi @Rocker_C - responding because I was tagged but absolutely no use to your partner as my cycles were always so messed up spotting patterns was impossible. Now I’ve got the implant so cycles not an issue.
     
  6. Mel dCP

    Mel dCP Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    The week before bleeding often comes with increased insulin resistance, I have to up everything (basal, bolus and corrections) by about 25-30% until it starts.

    Does your partner track her cycle?
     
  7. Rocker_C

    Rocker_C · Member

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    Wow, thank you all for your replies! It's brilliant. I'll chime in with a few responses to you each now.

    My partner is 30 years old and has a regular menstrual cycle and always has according to her. Recently we have lost a baby (sad) but this was happening before that too. It did seem to be pretty ridiculous during the pregnancy though and I was scared quite often during that time for her. I'd love to be able to find some sort of way of women having a way to test and correlate their hormone levels against their glucose as it must affect a good amount of women. Maybe one day!

    I was thinking about ways to stabilise her hormones to stop these wild rollercoasters but am I right in assuming now that it doesn't help? Something such as the pill I was thinking maybe could set a base level of hormones and take this out of the equation for women. This is also so weird in my partner's case because she recently saw some DSN at the hospital here and they told her that her HBA1c level was actually improving? I was a tad shocked as was she since she's having these wild fluctuations.

    What I decided to do was every time she'll scan her reader I input that data into a spreadsheet and under different time slots, I average out her readings for that time of day and the time in her cycle too. And you can clearly see it in those numbers, definite periods of lows during high oestrogen parts of the cycle, definite fluctuations when her hormones are on the "change" either up or down in some way, and then regularly showing highs during the last week of her cycle. What I thought I'd try to do too is use the spreadsheet to try and "predict" in a way what her sugars might do on average for her so then she has some idea on how it might happen. I did this using something known as a moving average, but I did it based on the part of her cycle she was likely to see those sorts of readings for. Sounds all a bit complicated but it actually tends to work out (I'd say +/- maybe 3 for her usually). I also made it a sort of thing to help her track her cycle for her to see if there was anything there I could do to help her. I felt so helpless when she started to fluctuate up and down all the time I needed to try and help her somehow. Do any of yourselves track your cycle and relate that back to your glucose and dosing then? I know Mel replied to that effect and you said that you tend to up your dose 25-30%. See to me that's a huge difference isn't it? Why doesn't the medical community get onto this I wonder? I know it must be such an individual thing as all women's bodies are different and have varying levels and perhaps even sensitivities too but it must affect a good number of women and seems so obvious yet so under-researched.

    Thank you all again. I really appreciate your help and have shown my partner. I think she'd join in on here but doesn't know quite how to use forums? no idea. I think she'd gain from being a member personally and having a chat with you all.

    RC
     
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  8. RAPS_od

    RAPS_od Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    This is a subject that affected me greatly when I was ovulating. Mind you, my sugars have always been brittle, but the week before I started my period, my sugars were insane. I'd eat less to try to lower them; I'd increase by basal and my fast-acting insulin to get it down; I even took garcina gamboa to get below 300. Nothing worked.
    And then, on the day I'd start my period, I had the complete opposite situation. My sugar would drop below 60 and I couldn't get it back to where it was supposed to be.
    This all takes a big emotional toll - even besides the fact that it's estrogen we're talking about. I would get first homicidal (joking, but I was pretty aggressive) and then suicidal (not kidding).
    What helped me with both my PMS and my lows on the first day was Evening Primrose Oil - and when that wasn't enough, Black Currant Oil. I found my blood sugars were still brittle, but it was the brittle I know from day to day. It kept the homicidal/suicidal thoughts at bay. I'm typically skeptical about homeopathic remedies (I've heard A LOT of them in my 50 years as a T1), but these two truly helped.
    If you go this route, be sure to avoid products with soy. It's been shown that soy contributes to breast cancer, especially when women's hormones fluctuate.
    I hope this helps. Kudos to you for turning here for help for your partner.
     
  9. ronialive

    ronialive Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I changed to a pump so have different levels throughout the cycle. I can't pin point what and when it will changed but if high and around then I switch my basal and if going low I don't have to eat but can stop the insulin
     
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  10. Jenna_Rees

    Jenna_Rees Type 1 · Newbie

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    Thank you for this post, it has been really useful for me too. I have been type 1 for 10 years but have always been on the pill or had the coil fitted. I have recently come off of these as we are trying to start a family and have been experiencing high readings especially the week leading up to my period, although took a few cycles to work this out. I only recently read something about increase in insulin resistance due to the hormones between ovulation and your period. My cycle is around 30 days and this time (even been doing readings through the night ) I think I have worked out from about day 24 I can increase my background insulin by a unit every day (10-15% increase). I take two background jabs, one in the evening and one in the morning, I find it’s more my night time one that needs increasing rather than my day one. It still gets very confusing, and annoying but certainly tracking my cycle has definitely helped.
     
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  11. RAPS_od

    RAPS_od Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Remember, HBA1c is an average. Her fluctuations may average out to a good level, but it doesn't necessarily mean her sugar's not fluctuating.
     
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