menopause diabetes

Menopause is an uncomfortable yet inevitable period in a woman’s life.   Understanding the menopausal symptoms helps to identify the onset of this condition, however these symptoms can be easily confused with those of diabetes.

Menopause symptoms:

  • Hot flashes: as women approach the menopause a reduction in estrogen levels leads to changes in the peripheral blood circulation producing a heat sensation in the chest, neck, and head.   Sweating may occur and after evaporation, a sensation of coldness and dizziness may appear lasting for a few seconds or minutes.   These symptoms can occur several times during the day varying among women.
  • Night sweats and changes in sleep patterns: night sweats are considered severe episodes of hot flashes that occur at night.   Although, night sweats aren’t actually a sleep disorder, it can disrupt sleep and cause irritability and stress to women.
  • Mood swings and lack of concentration: They are caused primarily by hormonal imbalances, when production of the hormone estrogen drops.   They are related to the disturbances in the sleep pattern and also to the reduction in the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain. Menopausal mood swings are surprisingly common and can be difficult to deal with.
  • Vaginal dryness: when estrogen levels drop during menopause the blood flow to the genital area also decreases, causing thickening and loss of elasticity of the vagina, which brings symptoms such as itchiness, irritation, and dryness.   As a result sex becomes painful and vaginal infections may occur.
  • Weight gain: most women gain weight during the menopause, specifically around the waist and hips as a consequence of hormonal changes.

These symptoms can be confused with those caused by diabetes.   Changes in blood sugar can result in drowsiness, sweating, lack of concentration, and irritability, which are similar to those observed during menopause.   Now, how do we know if the night sweating that wakes you up is due to menopause or diabetes?   The only sure way to find out is to have your glycemia checked and see your Doctor immediately.

If you are feeling irritable and if you think low blood sugar levels may cause this, you will be inclined to eat, but since your gycemia is normal, that extra food may make you gain weight. Therefore, it is very important to have your blood sugar checked. Meanwhile, you can increase your physical activity: Exercise will free endorphins that should improve your mood. Exercise can also help you lose weight and alleviate other symptoms like hot flashes, which are usually aggravated by diabetes and overweight.

Keep track of your blood sugar levels and register the symptoms you are experiencing. Visit your doctor to establish the possible causes for these changes.   In the case of the menopause, he will prescribe the appropriate treatment to cope with menopausal symptoms.


About the author

Dr. Sabrina Pozzobon

Dr. Sabrina Pozzobon

Medical Doctor, polyglot and innate lover of culture, adventure and nature. Sabrina’s experience lead her to treat diabetic patients in different areas of his career. Her articles have a medical, human and familiar touch, projecting warmth in each piece of content.