With the reduction of estrogen, also comes an increased risk of blood sugar irregularities and Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 women post menopausally will develop type 2 diabetes. As estrogen supports the pathways that regulate insulin and blood sugar levels, this function diminishes as the hormone level drops. Nothing is more important than a healthy diet at this stage of life. By a healthy diet, I mean a whole food, unprocessed diet, based on adequate-protein, abundant vegetables, salad, fruit, and good fats. What you need to be avoiding is sugar or highly processed foods as they are hidden sources of sugar. For more information see the Menopause Nutrition Basics articles.
But having a healthy diet alone isn't enough to prevent diabetes. Excessive stress can also contribute to this diagnosis. And who these days isn't stressed? Although I can not wave a magic wand and remove excessive stress, I can recommend you increase your stress management tools, things like exercise, meditating, breathing, sleeping, all help improve your tolerance or your response to stress. These lifestyle factors are key to helping you reduce your blood sugar spikes. As when you are stressed, your body produces additional cortisol. This hormone liberates stored sugar into active blood sugar to provide you with energy to run away from danger. Have you ever been that stressed that you feel shaky? This is the stress response telling you to run and escape the stressor. If you don’t run and burn this additional sugar, insulin is then produced to store it away again for another day. If this keeps happening, it can lead to insulin resistance or prediabetes.
Blood sugar imbalances produce similar symptoms as the menopausal transition. If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms you need to rule out blood sugar irregularities before putting all the blame on your hormones:
There are 3 blood tests I recommend to help you assess how balanced your blood sugar levels are. Please note these must be tested in a FASTING state.
If you have already developed diabetes, it's important to be aware that the menopausal transition will play havoc on your blood sugar readings. Some women will require additional medications or increased doses of their existing medication to stabilise their readings.
Did you realise Type 2 diabetes is reversible? It's a lifestyle disease and lifestyle diseases can be corrected by generally doing the opposite of what gave you the disease in the first place. So, replacing inactivity with regular exercise, replacing sleepless nights with adequate rest or replacing processed foods and sugars with organic meals high in protein, good fats, and vegetables. It’s your life, so it's your choice.
Supplements to consider:
Herbs to consider: