Menstrual cycle and Blood Glucose

Hi All,

I was mis-diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a year ago, and finally typed and re-classified with LADA a few months ago. I am on Humalog and Lantus and it generally works quite well for me along with the whole diet and exercise thing. However, every once in a while, I seem to have CRAZY weeks with BG levels that are super high (200-300s) for really no reason at all. I can spike up to 300 from having 2 grapes without a shot of humalog, or after having a slice of whole wheat toast even with a shot of insulin before. It seems like my BG seems to go up just from being AROUND food - without even eating anything. It's maddening. The last few months I realized that this craziness seems to happen about a week before the start of my menstrual cycle, and that my BG goes back to normal (or even low) the day before my cycle starts.

I'm curious if anybody else (women obviously) experience anything similar? If so -- what do you do about it? I'm really at a loss during this crazy week.

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hi Anna, please join our Women’s Group

there are some discussions on the topic there.

Many women, including myself, experience increase in BG prior to the start of our cycles, and it is attributed to hormnal changes. On a pump, many of us can just use a temporary basal rate during these days, but on shots, I would consult with your endo or CDE and ask for their recommendations.

Sounds about right!

I put down about 40oz of cranberry juice, 3 tubes of icing, 4 granola bars, AND about 6 Twizzlers this afternoon in about an hour and my blood sugar still dropped from 62 to 37 and finally leveled out at 54. In the last 2 days, I have more than eaten my body weight in sugar. This is after I ran about +40%-50% basal rate all last week!

Sounds exactly like what I experience. Problem is, I can never tell when exactly this is going to happen in order to try to accommodate with more insulin. When it has been running high, and I think this is going on, I try to eat less carbs, but my BS tends to run too hjgh at this point. BTW, when I am in phase, exercise also does NOTHING to bring my BS down, when ordinarily exercise makes me plummet.
For a long time I would eat Thai noodles on the first day of my period…it was the only time I could eat them and not spike! I usually gets lots of lows the first few days of my period.
Maybe menopause won’t be so bad:)

Hope, I’m glad that you said what you did about exercise. Usually I can use exercise to lower high blood sugar, but this last week (4 days before my period), I spent an hour at the gym and my blood sugar only went higher! I am a scientist by training and nature and I like to have a logical sense of cause and effect - so all of the variables that can radically change my blood sugar despite keeping insulin, diet and exercise constant, is really frustrating for me. Stress, hormones, amount of sleep, infections, etc…sheesh - just too many variables. I guess this whole diabetes thing is trying to teach me to go with the flow.

Yes, the other day I went running…CGM read 120, spiked to 300! during a run, and then back down to 180 by the time I was finished! WTF, normally, when I am not premenstrual, I would need to eat several glucose tabs just to keep conscious during exercise, but I have recently noted this increase in BS as well. So frustrating. I know some women talk about having two basal settings, but I can never tell when I am actually entering this phase. Also, some months my preperiod insulin resistance seems worse than other months.

Hormones play havoc. No doubt about it.

I’m T1 & strenuous exercise sends me high. Later, I have lows. Hardly seems worth it! It’s due to cortisol hormones (adrenaline) signaling the liver to dump glucose. It’s a stress type reaction. Moderate exercise lowers me some, but not drastically. Not unusual for T1s to experience a rise from a hard work out, but I don’t know how this typically effects LADAs. Just another fun variable to throw into the mix.

Frustrating for all of us. You’re not alone.

This elevated BS during exercise only happens to me during the week before my period…other times I drop very significantly during exercise and in the half hour or so afterward. The pattern is totally opposite for me during different times of the month.

One thing’s for sure. The only constant in diabetes is inconsistency. Every time I think I’ve found a pattern, it changes.

LOL! Yeah, I’m starting to get the gist of that, Gerri. It’s nice to be able to talk to people who have been on this path for a while.

Ditto here. Every month seems different, timing-wise and effect-wise, so the “two different basal rates” strategy doesn’t help me either. It’s getting worse as I get closer to menopause (I’m 44 now, and the problems started around 39). Sigh. My male endo is useless on this stuff (I used to see a female endo who was apparently a specialist in women’s hormone issues, but she wasn’t any better!). I’m starting to think there’s nothing much to be done … and wishing I could have back all the money I’ve spent on various therapies, potions and practioners!

Good to have friends along to share the bumpy ride!

For me it is about 3 days a month. I take Levimir twice a day, so I up my dose the morning I wake with a high bg. Then I keep that dose for 3 days. I do it for 3 nights, occasionally I need 4, but I hate to risk the lows in the middle of the night. Then my cycle starts the next day. That’s for me. We’re all different, so you’ll have to see what works for you. Now that you’ve figured it out, what causes this, it’s easy to figure what your adjusted doses should be. Dr’s should tell us these things. I learned about this from the book “Think Like a Pancreas”.

I’m 43 – and I swear things have been changing since about 41 or so. That’s when the “2 PMS” cycles a month started – one right after my period ended, and the other right before it started, as usual. Before my period definitely BG goes up higher. But in the cycle I’m in now, it’s doing some other weird things like being higher, lower, higher, lower… I eat a very consistent diet, so I know it’s not what I’m eating. Sigh…

Sounds like you’re quite fortunate, Baby Tee! All I’ve learned since figuring out that hormones are (partly) to blame is that my adjusted doses are impossible to figure out. Too much variability from day to day and month to month. I’ve read Think Like a Pancreas, but it seemed to operating from the assumption that bodies are a lot more predictable (robotic even!) than mine seems to be.

I get the “2 cycles” thing as well! and/or the up-down-up-down syndrome, regardless of a pretty stable diet. So frustrating. Sometimes I feel like performing an auto-hysterectomy. :-p

Yes, mine has been getting worse too, since about age 38.

The thing is, I never thought much about my body till I had to. Now I have to. Between D and this, it kinda pretty much sucks… But that is our cross to bear, sigh… :slight_smile:

Science can be like that. They want to grasp on to something, and yeah there are some predictable variables, but ultimately, we really don’t know what’s coming down the road every time. That’s especially true with women’s systems, and the fact is, most of the research has been done on MEN. That they discovered a LONG time later that women get different heart attack symptoms than men is evidence that the scientific community likes to rest on its laurels a bit. Here’s to the ones that look to break down the rules and aren’t afraid of unpredictability!