Are Menopause and Diabetes Related?
For a woman, diabetes and menopause can happen together and present problems to your body. So, it is good to know what can happen so that you can still be in control.
Even a few years before menopause, you may have to face certain problems. To know what you should do at that time, you should learn what can possibly happen.
Diabetes together with menopause: What can possibly happen.
Once a womanâs periods have stopped permanently, menopause begins. When diabetes and menopause are present together, they can bring changes to your body; changes which can affect your health, such as:
- Changes in blood glucose level.
Progesterone and estrogen are two hormones which determine how sensitive your cells are to insulin. There will be changes in the levels of these two hormones after menopause and this can cause your blood glucose level to fluctuate, and you notice that your blood glucose level is not as predictable or controllable as before. When your blood glucose gets out of control, the possibility of getting diabetes complications will be greater.
- Weight gain.
Putting on extra weight may be a problem with some women during the transition period and after menopause. More diabetes medication or insulin may be required when the body gains weight.
Even without the added problem of menopause, raised blood glucose levels can bring on urinary as well as vaginal infections. With less estrogen after menopause, the chances of bacteria and yeast thriving in the vagina and the urinary tract are even better.
- Sleep problems.Â
After menopause, sleep can be disrupted by night sweats and hot flashes. When there is lack of sleep, it can be difficult to control your blood glucose level.
- Sexual problems.
Damage to the nerves in the cells in the walls of the vagina can be caused by diabetes. With less sensation, feelings of arousal and orgasm may be more difficult to reach. Furthermore, less release of lubricating fluid in the vagina, which is a usual menopause symptom, can result in pain during sexual intercourse.
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Diabetes together with menopause: What can be done?
You may find control over your blood glucose levels difficult when there is menopause. Fortunately, there are ways to help you manage both menopause and diabetes.
- Choose a healthy lifestyle.
Choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle,Â such as consuming nutritious foods and getting sufficient exercise each day, is important to you treatment plan for diabetes.Â They can help you to be healthy and fit even after menopause.
- Check your blood glucose often.
More frequent than usual blood glucose level checking during day-time and a few times at night is necessary when menopause occurs when you already have diabetes. Record all the results of your blood glucose tests and any symptoms noticed. Such information can be used to make necessary adjustments to your diabetes treatment plan. Routine A1C testing may be suggested by your doctor so that your average blood glucose level during the last two to three months can be known.
- Find out from your doctor if it is necessary to adjust any of the diabetes medications.
If there has been an increase in the average level of your blood glucose, a need to take a stronger dose of whatever diabetes medications you have been using is obvious. Either that or you have to change to a new medication, if there has been an increase in weight as well or a lack of physical activity. Similarly, your diabetes medication dosage may have to be reduced, if there has been a decrease in the average level of your blood glucose.
- Learn about medication which can lower your cholesterol level.
The possibility of getting cardiovascular disease is greater if you suffer from diabetes. And when you have menopause, the risk is many times more. Fortunately, the risk can be lowered by exercising every day and consuming nutritious food. Your doctor may suggest that you use cholesterol-lowering medication too.
- Seek treatment to overcome menopausal symptoms.
For those difficult menopausal symptoms, such as slow sexual response, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes, there are treatments. For vaginal dryness, a vaginal lubricant to moisturize the vaginal walls may be recommended by your doctor.Â If it is to overcome inflammation and thinning of the vaginal walls, also known as vaginal atrophy, vaginal estrogen therapy can help. If the problem is weight gain, seek a registered dietitian for assistance to change to a more suitable meal plan. Then, there is hormone therapy which can be the right choice for some women.
Together, menopause and diabetes can be double trouble but if you consult your doctor, he can help you overcome them.