What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes is an illness where your body can no longer make insulin . The cause behind this malfunction is your own immune system. It starts producing antibodies that target and attack the beta cells in your pancreas. As a result, these essential cells can no longer produce insulin, leading to a significant challenge – the body’s inability to process sugars at all. To manage this, individuals with Type 1 Diabetes rely on insulin pens or pumps.
However, the real question lies in why the immune system turns against our own beta cells, unleashing these destructive antibodies. This remains a perplexing, unanswered question in the world of medical research.
Understanding this complex relationship between the immune system and insulin production is a crucial step towards improving the lives of those with Type 1 Diabetes.
The studies about type 1 diabetes and the menstrual cycle.
Sine 1920s, researchers have been delving into the intricate relationship between Type 1 Diabetes and the menstrual cycle. While our understanding of this topic remains somewhat limited, we’ve managed to unearth a few valuable articles shedding light on the matter.
The first article, “Menstrual Cycle, Glucose Control, and Insulin Sensitivity in Type 1 Diabetes,” focus on into a specific group of women with Type 1 Diabetes. It reveals that some of these women display decreased sensitivity to insulin, a factor that can lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
Women living with Type 1 Diabetes often experience unique challenges in their menstrual cycle. They are more likely to encounter irregular periods and may even face reduced or absent bleeding during menstruation. Additionally, they tend to enter menopause earlier and commence their first periods later compared to those without Type 1 Diabetes. This illness can also connected to a higher risk of stillbirths, reduced pregnancies, and an increased likelihood of reproductive organ diseases.
Intriguingly, the menstrual cycle appears to have a discernible impact on blood sugar levels for some women with Type 1 Diabetes. During the interval between ovulation and the onset of the period, blood sugar levels tend to be elevated, while insulin sensitivity decreases. As a result, these individuals frequently experience higher blood sugar levels.
Our quest for a deeper understanding of this complex interplay continues. As we unravel the influences of the menstrual cycle on Type 1 Diabetes, we move closer to more effective management strategies and a brighter future for those affected.
My own experiences as on type 1 diabetic. I received my diagnosis when I was just 5 years old, and although that diagnosis profoundly changed my life, time quickly flew by. Before I knew it, I turned 12 and had my first period. The initial years were uneventful, but by the time I reached 16, I began noticing that my blood sugar levels were spiking one week before and during my period. This raised concerns, prompting a visit to my doctor.
The doctor reassured me, explaining that it was entirely normal and that my hormones were influencing my blood sugar levels. She advised me to start checking my blood sugar every two hours. Now, keep in mind that I had just turned 16, and being the stubborn teenager I was, I initially resisted the idea. Who wants to check their blood sugar every two hours, especially during classes or a friend’s house?
After a while, the combination of high blood sugar and hormonal changes took a toll on my mental and physical health. I began feeling more depressed and constantly exhausted. I decided to return to the doctor, who, of course, scolded me for my reckless behaviour. However, after a lengthy discussion, we reached a compromise—I didn’t have to check my blood sugar every two hours but only during each school break.
But things have evolved since then. I’ve transitioned back to using an insulin pen because the pump wasn’t the right fit for me. People with type 1 diabetes know that insulin pumps offer better control, but surprisingly, the insulin pen has proven more effective for me, because my mental health improved a lot and I started to care more. I’ve managed to regulate my blood sugar levels by staying active during my period, simply going for a 15-minute walk, and resisting those tempting period cravings.
One constant throughout this journey is that when I experience heightened emotions during my period and my blood sugar is either too low or too high, it intensifies my emotions, making me more upset.
I’m fortunate that I haven’t personally experienced lighter or absent periods or other severe menstrual symptoms, likely due to my diabetes management. If you have any concerns about your period, I strongly recommend seeking professional advice from your doctor.
Toor S, Yardley JE, Momeni Z. Type 1 Diabetes and the Menstrual Cycle: Where/How Does Exercise Fit in? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Feb 4;20(4):2772. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20042772
Gamarra E, Trimboli P. Menstrual Cycle, Glucose Control and Insulin Sensitivity in Type 1 Diabetes: A Systematic Review. J Pers Med. 2023 Feb 20;13(2):374. doi: 10.3390/jpm13020374.