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Hormonal roller coaster

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Aus unserer Serie »English Lesson«: Diabetic women often have worse blood sugar regulation than male diabetics. This is due to the ups and downs of sex hormones in women. They have a significant effect on blood glucose levels.
Marta Campbell
31.08.2022  08:30 Uhr

Many type-1 diabetic women of childbearing age experience that their blood sugar fluctuates in a characteristic way during each cycle. This is due to the sex hormones that influence insulin resistance. Their concentration rises sharply in the second half of the cycle, which promotes insulin resistance; women need more insulin to achieve good blood sugar levels. With the onset of the period, the oestrogen and progesterone levels drop abruptly. So, while the second half of the cycle is characterised by hyperglycaemia, unless the insulin dose is increased accordingly, there is a risk of hypoglycaemia after the start of the period if the amount of insulin is not reduced again. Women with type 1 diabetes should track their values well in order to find out which insulin dose ensures good blood sugar in which cycle phase.

The second hormonal hurdle that affects blood sugar is pregnancy. Initially, the insulin requirement of the pregnant woman decreases here until about the 14th week of pregnancy. Then, however, from about the middle of pregnancy, the expectant mother needs considerably more insulin. This additional need drops off abruptly after birth. Type-1 diabetics and women with gestational diabetes have to check their blood sugar frequently every day and do everything they can to keep the values within the normal range. High blood glucose levels can be dangerous for the child. First of all, in the womb - miscarriages and heart defects are more common, and these children often become very heavy, which can cause problems at birth. But there is also a threat of trouble after birth, because the baby's pancreas has helped to lower the mother's high blood sugar levels as much as possible in the womb. The baby's pancreas therefore runs at full speed and ensures that the baby's own blood glucose levels drop sharply after birth and the child becomes hypoglycaemic. All these risks can be prevented as far as possible with the best possible blood sugar control.


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