If you have diabetes and are going through menopause, you need to understand the symptoms of both as they can be not only challenging but have serious side effects on your overall quality of life. Menopause is when a woman ceases to menstruate. On average, the symptoms of menopause can start to show anywhere between the ages of 45 to 55. The average age for women to have their last menstrual cycle is 51-years-old. Diabetes and menopause combined together have various effects on your body, including:
It is reasonable for women to put on weight during and after menopause, which can increase their requirements and their medications for diabetes.
With menopause, hot flashes and night sweats can keep you awake, making it difficult to sleep. This can result in issues with maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
You can get vaginal and urinary infections due to high blood sugar levels, which can occur before menopause. As your estrogen levels drop after menopause, your risk of developing bacteria and developing urinary tract and yeast infections goes up.
Blood Glucose Levels
The two hormones that affect how your cells respond to are estrogen and progesterone. The changes in these hormones can affect your blood sugar levels. It is important to control your blood sugar levels at all times so that you can avoid any complications that arise due to diabetes.
Problems with Sex
It is common knowledge that diabetes can damage your nerves which can affect the cells that line the vagina. This can cause problems with arousal and orgasm. Another problem is vaginal dryness, which can make sexual intercourse quite painful.
There are also hormonal menopause symptoms. Hormone fluctuations that characterize menopause may wreak havoc on blood glucose control. With less progesterone, there may be greater sensitivity. With less estrogen, resistance increases. And the lack of these hormones can also cause other changes which can worsen diabetes complications. For example, lowered estrogen levels increase the risks of cardiovascular disease, which is already higher for people who have diabetes and osteoporosis.
Menopause Symptoms and Diabetes Symptoms
Most common menopause symptoms are hot flashes, disturbed sleep, night sweats, and a decreased ability to think clearly. All of which are incidentally similar to symptoms diabetes produces. In fact, some mistake menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and moodiness as symptoms of low blood sugar so they incorrectly start consuming unnecessary calories, which, in turn, raises the blood sugar and causes a surge in blood sugar.
Most women experience stronger and more frequent episodes of low blood sugar because of diabetes, especially at night. This may affect their sleep, which already gets interrupted by the menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. As a result, such sleep deprivation causes fluctuations in blood sugar.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
To combat this, women with these conditions often choose to take hormone replacement therapy or HRT. These hormones (estrogen and progesterone) replace the hormones that the body no longer produces on its own. But this will not always be possible in the case of a woman who is a diabetic as these hormones affect the blood sugar. However, doses of these hormones are often so small that they do not cause much effect. If a diabetic woman opts for HRT, she will need to consult with her doctor as he or she will have to adjust her diabetes medications accordingly.
Be very careful as diabetes and menopause symptoms are often similar. You need to know exactly what it is that you have or you can cause yourself terrible harm, especially if you have diabetes and are not on a treatment plan. Some of these symptoms are mood swings, feeling tired, dizziness, and an increase in your body temperature.
What About Your Diet?
Being a diabetic, you need to maintain a healthy, nutritious diet so that your blood sugar levels remain steady. However, going through menopause when you’re diabetic gives you another reason to have a healthy diet. Exercising regularly will allow you to manage and control your diabetes and menopause effectively. The way your blood sugar levels are affected by menopause and diabetes will make it crucial for you to be able to manage and control your symptoms so that you can avoid any serious complications that may occur.
Sourced from: everydayhealth.com
Featured Image Source: Thinkstock / Purestock