Menstrual Cycle and LADA Diabetes and Insulin Sensitivity

Comparison of CGM for Day 26 and Day 1 of my menstrual cycle
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I find that I need more insulin and have a much more difficult time keeping my blood glucose in the normal range during the week before I get my period.

I have been increasing my basal insulin by 1 unit during the last week of my menstrual cycle, and I have to take extra bolus insulin to get my blood glucose into a normal range.

“Luteal Phase Insulin Resistance”

That’s the scientific term for that I’m describing here.  On average, a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts 28 days.  Day 1 is the day that a woman gets her period.  The time period after ovulation and before menstruation (approx. days 14 through 28) are considered the “luteal phase.”  During this phase, the level of the hormone progesterone increases.  This increased progesterone causes insulin resistance.

Hormone levels during the Menstrual Cycle

Graph showing hormones during menstrual cycle
Progesterone hormone level increases after ovulation. This hormone can make it harder to control your glucose level. Credit: Wikimedia

Talk to your doctor about how to adjust your insulin or medication during this time period

Female hormones are just one factor that can change how your body responds to insulin.  If you are seeing patterns that correlate with your menstrual cycle, it’s a good idea to discuss that with your doctor to see what their advice is.

This luteal phase insulin resistance may also happen at the same time as other PMS symptoms.  Eating extra carbs because of food cravings can be another cause.  But personally I’ve found that even if I follow a very restrictive diet, I still need to increase my insulin dosage during the week before I get my period.

Compare these 2 days….. It’s not my fault!

It’s hormones I’m fighting against!

My Freestyle Libre CGM Graph while in the Luteal Phase

freestyle libre CGM graph
This is a graph of my blood glucose on about day 26 of my cycle. I had to do extra insulin and my glucose level was hard to control.
CGM graph showing glucose level on day 1
Day 1 of my Menstrual Cycle – I actually had to eat extra carbs to keep from going low!

Articles about the effect of Menstrual Cycle on Insulin Sensitivity

Can tea help balance things?

Years ago, before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I tried this “Sugar Balance & Women’s Tonic with Dong Quai” tea.   I didn’t have diabetes at the time (I know because I did get my glucose levels checked, and they were fine!), but yet I felt weird around PMS time and I remember thinking that this tea did help my with my moods.  I didn’t monitor my blood glucose back then, so I don’t know if this has a measurable effect on glucose levels.   If I try it again, I’ll let you know!  But mostly I just wanted to mention it, as traditional Chinese herbal remedies like this Triple Leaf Tea may help out someone!

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