Diabetes and Menopause – What You Need to Know
Women with diabetes may at first have a hard time telling the difference between a bout of low blood sugar and menopause.
If you are a woman with diabetes approaching a certain age, there may come a point when it can feel as though you hit a wall with your diabetes self-care. Your blood sugar levels may become erratic, you might find you’ve gained a bit of weight, and you sleep restlessly.
What you may be experiencing is menopause. Menopause typically starts around age 50, but perimenopause, the beginning stages of menopause, can start as early as 40. At this time, the hormones estrogen and progesterone start fluctuating, causing hot flashes, moodiness, short-term memory loss, and fatigue.
For a woman with diabetes, fluctuating blood sugars can also be common with menopause. The tricky thing is that the symptoms of menopause are so similar to low blood sugar that it can be hard to distinguish between the two. More frequent blood sugar monitoring is essential to identify whether the symptoms you experience are caused by diabetes, menopause, or a combination of both.
Weight gain, although not inevitable, is common during menopause for women with and without diabetes. You also are prone to lose muscle mass and replace it with fat, usually in the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Without any changes in diet, you may find the scale creeping up.
Diabetes and menopause share several other symptoms, including vaginal dryness, vaginal infections and urinary tract infections. These are caused by reduced estrogen levels in menopause, and elevated glucose levels and nerve damage with diabet Continue reading