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Can Diabetes Really Cause Irregular Menstrual Cycles?

Diabetes can trigger other health problems such as stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. However, can diabetes also cause menstrual cycles to become irregular? Check out the full discussion in this article.

Can Diabetes Really Cause Irregular Menstrual Cycles?

How Does Diabetes Affect the Menstrual Cycle?

The menstrual cycle generally lasts about 28 days with a span of 21-35 days. During this cycle, changing hormone levels in a woman can trigger ovulation (the release of a mature egg), then menstruation if not fertilized or pregnant.

Apart from that, hormonal changes can also affect other body functions, especially for women who have diabetes.

Here are some things that affect irregular menstrual cycles in women due to diabetes, including:

1. Blood Sugar Levels are Difficult to Control Before Menstruation

Approaching or about a week before menstruation, blood sugar levels will be difficult to control. This occurs due to hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle.

In the middle of the menstrual cycle ovulation will occur. In that phase, levels of the hormone progesterone increase. The hormone progesterone itself has an important role in regulating the menstrual cycle and ovulation.

When progesterone levels increase, this puts women with diabetes at risk for insulin resistance or better known as luteal phase insulin resistance. In type 1 diabetes, patients will tend to be more sensitive to it.

Luteal phase insulin resistance can result in hyperglycemia so that blood sugar soars, it can even happen even though you have been on a regular diet and exercise.

In addition, increased progesterone can also trigger the desire to eat simple carbohydrates, which can then eliminate the motivation to exercise. If that happens, it can have an effect on bad blood sugar.

Also Read: 10 Causes of Long Menstruation and How to Overcome Them

2. Premature Menopause and Late Menstruation Occur

If you have type 1 diabetes, you will likely experience menopause earlier than people with type 2 diabetes or no diabetes.

A study revealed that type 1 diabetes can cause premature aging of blood vessels. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes in women are also more likely to experience the onset of menstruation (menarche) at an older age. This can limit the occurrence of conception and pregnancy.

In addition, people with type 1 diabetes are also more likely to experience irregular menstruation than people who do not have diabetes.

This is also supported by studies published in Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinologywhere more than a third of adolescents with type 1 diabetes experience irregular menstruation.

3. Increased Weight Triggers Irregular Menstruation

Although type 2 diabetes can occur in women who are not overweight, it is often associated with obesity.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, while type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance so that the liver, fat and muscles are unable to respond to the insulin that is produced properly.

When you are overweight, the greater volume of fat in your body will produce a greater amount of hormones. This can cause insulin resistance. Ultimately, this can cause the pancreas to produce more insulin.

If these high insulin levels interact with menstrual hormones, this can cause menstruation to be irregular or missed.

Also Read: Blood Clots during Menstruation, Is it Dangerous?

Now,, that’s a discussion about the menstrual cycle and its relation to diabetes. So, can diabetes cause irregular menstrual cycles? The answer is yes, diabetes can affect the menstrual cycle.

Before menstruation, increased progesterone can cause insulin resistance and increased blood sugar. The same will be true if you have diabetes and are taking hormonal contraceptives that can increase progesterone levels.

  1. Chisholm, Andrea. 2022. 5 Things Women Need to Know About Diabetes and Their Period. (Accessed January 20, 2023).
  2. Sissons, Beth. 2021. How does diabetes affect the menstrual cycle?. (Accessed January 20, 2023).

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