Diabetes affects approximately 37 million adult Americans, and many of them may not even know they have it.
For women with diabetes approaching menopause, this already challenging time can become even more difficult due to the worsening of unwanted symptoms.
In this article, we’ll explore the link between diabetes and menopause and provide insights on a natural solution to alleviate menopausal symptoms and manage diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body converts food into energy. Usually, your body breaks down food into glucose or sugar.
Next, the pancreas releases insulin, and the body uses blood sugar as energy. When you have diabetes, your insulin supply is inadequate. The underlying causes vary according to the type of diabetes that you have.
Before menopause is thrown into the mix, diabetes presents its own set of challenges. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body stops making insulin, which must be replaced daily by injection. Diabetes can develop at any age, and there is no way to prevent getting type 1 diabetes.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body has difficulty keeping your blood sugar levels at a normal range. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and, thankfully, it is preventable.
There are many complications that someone who has diabetes may experience, including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and nerve damage, to name a few.
Identifying Menopause: Hormonal Imbalance, Brain Fog, and More
If it has been 12 months since your last period, your physician may have identified that your body has entered menopause. The period of time leading up to this is known as perimenopause. Menopause signals the end of your child-bearing years.
During both of these periods, your body’s estrogen and progesterone production will yo-yo up and down. This hormonal imbalance causes several inevitable symptoms that you must endure.
Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, and hot flashes are another. Bladder control may become a problem, and many menopausal women have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep.
Menopausal women may no longer find themselves as interested in sex as they used to. The vagina may be drier, making sex uncomfortable or even painful. Some women also experience minor aches, pains, and headaches during this time.
Thinking clearly even becomes difficult, as brain fog is another common complaint. Based on recent Harvard research suggests that women in menopause are more likely to experience memory problems and cognitive decline. Still, it also highlights that lifestyle factors like exercise and stress management can help improve memory during this time.
How Diabetes and Menopause Affect Each Other
If you have diabetes, menopause, and the years right before, it may be extra challenging. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is because the hormones estrogen and progesterone affect how your cells respond to insulin.
As a result, when your hormone levels fluctuate during menopause or perimenopause, your blood sugar levels will do the same. This can become dangerous for some, as diabetes complications can occur when a diabetic person’s blood sugar gets out of control.
A person with diabetes is also more likely to gain weight during this time of transition. Your doctor may decide to adjust your diabetes medication to try and help stop this from happening.
When your blood sugar spikes, you are also more likely to contract urinary tract and vaginal infections. The drop in estrogen that happens during menopause only further fuels this scenario.
If hot flashes and night sweats are keeping you awake at night, being sleep-deprived will make it more difficult to manage diabetes and to remain clear-headed during your waking hours.
Another unfortunate way that diabetes can make menopause more difficult is that it can make sex dry and painful. This happens because diabetes can damage the nerves of the cells that line the vagina.
What Can Be Done to Remedy the Situation?
Currently, there is no cure for diabetes, only effective management of its symptoms. Because of this, to help yourself feel better during perimenopause and menopause, the focus must be placed on bringing your hormones back into balance. When your hormones become replenished, this may also help your diabetic condition remain more stable.
There are several things you can do at home to help your body’s hormonal balance get moving in the right direction:
- Eat protein at every meal: Protein provides your body with essential amino acids that it can’t manufacture alone. It also uses it to create protein-derived hormones known as peptide hormones.
- Exercise regularly: One significant benefit of training is that it can reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Exercise increases hormone receptor sensitivity as well.
- Improve your gut bacteria: The microbiome inside your gut regulates hormones by modulating insulin resistance and helping you feel full when you eat. Lowering your sugar intake will help you achieve a stronger balance in your gut.
- Reduce stress: Chronic stress causes your body to release cortisol, which stimulates your appetite and impairs your hormonal system. Give stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation a try.
- Get enough quality sleep: Your body needs to restore itself every night. Poor sleep is linked to hormonal imbalances in insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, and HGH.
Balancing Hormones with BHRT: A Natural Solution for Menopausal Women with Diabetes
BHRT, short for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, may be the key that unlocks a much more peaceful transitional period for you. BHRT gives you the closest thing possible to what your body naturally manufactures. Derived entirely from plant sources, BHRT will replenish your depleted hormones and restore your body to a more stable condition.
Living with diabetes presents enough challenges without your hormones worsening the situation. With BHRT, you will experience fewer undesirable symptoms of menopause, as your hormones will be at an even keel. This will also help your blood sugar to level out, which is a win-win.
BHRT at Renew Health and Wellness
Now that you know how a few lifestyle changes combined with BHRT can significantly impact your quality of life, what are you waiting for? Our team of friendly and educated professionals at Renew Health and Wellness is ready to help. Contact us today, and we look forward to a brighter tomorrow!