Can Diabetes Cause Irregular Periods?


What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition of having too much glucose in your blood. Glucose converts from sugar into energy during metabolism. According to the American Diabetes Association, the inability to process or produce insulin raises glucose levels in the blood. Insulin reacts with glucose to convert it into the energy necessary for functioning. In Type 1 diabetes, the body can't produce insulin naturally. In Type 2 diabetes, the body's cells resist the effects of insulin. Some of the symptoms of diabetes include blurry vision, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, hunger, fatigue and irregular menstrual cycles. Menstrual irregularity shares a link with diabetes.

Menstrual Cycles Increase Diabetic Symptoms

Epigee Pregnancy Resources says that progesterone, the main hormone secreted at ovulation, interferes with the activity of insulin. Glucose levels increase to their highest just after ovulation during the week before menstruation. According to the October 2008 Review of Endocrinology, progesterone levels rise starting at the time of ovulation, along with estrogen levels. Just before menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. Glucose levels lower when progesterone and estrogen decrease and allow insulin to function. The body feels the need to replenish glucose supplies. This is why women can experience cravings for certain foods high in sugars, fats and carbohydrates before menstruation.

How Diabetes Causes Menstrual Irregularity

The absence of insulin makes conversion of glucose into energy impossible. Your body needs energy and nutrients to function. Normally, food provides these. If your body doesn't get a steady supply of energy from food you eat, malnutrition results, even if you eat foods naturally high in insulin such as fruits and vegetables. Proper nutrition and calories ensure a regular menstrual cycle. During a phase of malnutrition, systems unnecessary for survival--such as the reproductive system--shut down. Irregular or missed menstrual cycles occur until you have enough energy to function.

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