Perimenopause and Blood Sugar Link

Table of Contents

Menopause and diabetes occur around the same time in life, and some hormonal changes can make managing your diabetes more challenging. Menopause causes a marked decrease in estrogen levels, leading to various changes that can affect weight & insulin sensitivity.

Menopause and diabetes are two conditions that are increasingly common as women age. Menopause is a natural process marking the end of a woman’s reproductive years, while diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Both menopause and diabetes can significantly impact a woman’s health and well-being, and important connections exist between these two conditions.

Menopause is normal as part of aging in women, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. During menopause, a woman undergoes significant hormonal changes, including decreased estrogen levels. These hormonal changes can lead to various symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are generally temporary and usually resolve within a few years.

Diabetes, on the other hand, is a chronic condition that controls how the body processes blood sugar. In a healthy body, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps to regulate blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively. This effect can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can cause various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision problems.

There are several ways in which menopause and diabetes are connected. Though menopause itself has not been found to raise the risk of diabetes, it can affect how a woman’s body uses blood sugar (glucose). For example, women who are going through menopause may be more likely to develop diabetes. This fact is thought to be because hormonal changes during menopause can affect how the body processes glucose. Additionally, women with diabetes may experience changes in their blood sugar levels during menopause due to hormone changes.

Another connection between menopause and diabetes is that both conditions can increase the risk of certain health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. Women with diabetes are already at an increased risk of heart disease, and menopause can further exacerbate this risk. This increased risk is because estrogen, which has a protective effect on the heart, decreases during menopause.

There are several steps that women can take to manage their risk of both menopause and diabetes. For example, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise can help to prevent or manage both conditions. Women with diabetes may also need to monitor their blood sugar levels more closely during menopause, as hormone fluctuations affect their insulin needs.

Menopause and diabetes are two conditions that are common in women as they age. While they are separate conditions, there are important connections between the two. Women going through menopause may be at increased risk of developing diabetes, and both conditions can increase the risk of certain health problems. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing their health, women can minimize their risk of both menopause and diabetes and enjoy a healthy and active life as they age.

Here, we discuss with Ayurvedic physician Dr. Shweta Hegde, on how Ayurveda can help women as they face this link between menopause and diabetes management.

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone, and happy Friday and Labor Day weekend. Well, we are bringing you our daily episode. Today’s episode focuses on diabetes for women in their mid-40s or 40 and above. We know that women when they reach when we women reach that age group, we are into perimenopause and menopause and beyond.

We are susceptible to chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Osteoarthritis, and dementia. So, today, I wanted to focus on how to prevent and, if God forbid, you get diabetes, how to manage it with Doctor Hegde. Doctor Hegde is an Ayurvedic physician who Joined me, live from Bangalore, India. Namaste, and thank you so much. 

Dr. Shweta: Namaste. Hello, everyone. 

How Diabetes Can Impact Mid-Aged Women?

NourishDoc: Okay. So, I know you’ve talked before about some of the conferences on diabetes and herbal diet plan. Do you want to focus a little bit with the focus on the mid-aged women here and how diabetes can impact women at that age? 

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, sure. So usually like women when they are pregnant. So usually, that is the time when most women develop gestational diabetes. So because of the hormonal imbalance and insufficient insulin capacity and all. So there is a more chance of developing gestational pregnancy gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

So other than like there is a, one of the most common risk factors which we say like where women can develop diabetes is overweight or obese. So usually what happens till 35 to 40 years like women used to maintain their body shape. Women used to do some exercise, or they used to go for some fitness regimen and all. But once they get a child and are completely busy with their family or et cetera. So they are like used to a lack of physical activity.

Like they are not what they like even though they want to do some physical exercise or modify their lifestyle. So they don’t get enough time for that because of many responsibilities. So usually, like many women, they are not working outside; if they are in the house only, they are housewives; usually, they sleep during the day, and because of sleep usually, there is more chance of getting whooping and being overweight.

So that is one of the main risk factors where we can say that midday women usually get diabetes, and other than that, one more thing is birth control tools. So, nowadays, when a woman has PCOD or PCOS or any menstrual-related problems, many doctors advise taking birth control pills. So when you take it for a long time, it will help; it will cause the development of diabetes; other than that, the risk factors like the woman being older than 45 years.

It is a family history of diabetes; if their parents or siblings have diabetes or if she has a baby, which when it is born if are more than nine pounds so there, also she may have a chance of getting diabetes. Other than that, if she has high cholesterol or high blood pressure, she may also develop diabetes. Hence, we can say these are some risk factors where women can develop diabetes. So mainly it is because of the diet and the lifestyle disturbance. 

Perimenopause or Menopause and Diabetes Link

NourishDoc: Okay, that is very alarming because you are pointing out that it doesn’t happen suddenly. I am over 40 or 45 years old, and someone is 45 years old and suddenly will get diabetes; that doesn’t happen like a switch, right? And that’s what you’re saying. It happens when all of us are at a younger age when maybe we have a baby or kids when we have not taken care of ourselves over time; it starts progressing.

Hormonal imbalances start happening, and when perimenopause or menopause hits, your estrogen and progesterone go down anyway. Now it gets all exaggerated, and there is more risk of a chronic condition. I mean, that’s how I’m understanding. Do you want to clarify a little bit? Yes. Okay. All right, so now that it has happened let’s say someone’s got diabetes because of their lousy lifestyle and all the things you pointed out, right? What should they do? How should they manage? Using Ayurveda as one of the central toolkits and herbal management. 

Dr. Shweta: So, diabetes is one that condition where we can go for the reverse treatment if the diabetes is related to the irregular diet and lifestyle so we can reverse it by following the proper diet and lifestyle. So many of us know what diet to follow when we have diabetes, so in that also like for the like timely food is one of the very most significant challenges we can say like if she is having a lot of members and family or if she has many responsibilities.

So usually, she will like her timings will be disturbed, like she won’t be having a proper, timely meal, which is also one of the reasons for diabetes. So in Ayurveda, everything is connected to digestion, so whatever disease happens or forms, it is always connected to the digestive system. So, even diabetes also, it is connected to the digestive system. If your digestion system is robust, then definitely you will become maintain your health good state.

So that is one which I can advise that try to follow a timely meal or try to follow like if you have tried to follow the timings for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner and other than that try to practice at least 15 minutes of exercise in a day. So it is my time for the women. So at least 10 to 15 minutes you should give yourself; she can practice either Surya Namaskara or some yoga asanas, or she can practice some exercises, or she can go for a walk.

So for that, for at least 15 minutes, she should do some physical activity or exercise. Even though we can say like while cooking or while taking care of babies or while cleaning the house and also we are doing physical activity. But there actually, even though we are doing the physical activity but our mental status is not like involved in that. That’s why at least 10 to 15 minutes you should keep for ourself, and we should think.

We should do some meditation, or we should do some lifestyle correction like doing exercise and all and other than that like usually what happens now, for example, today we prepare some food and if it is remaining for the next day. So usually women used to eat that like we should not waste. In India, most women have that typical mind.

So they don’t want to waste that food, and they will eat that. So what happens is when you eat the remaining food cooked the previous night. So it will have a moisture content. It will have more moisture content and because of that also, the digestion system will become weak. So that’s all like we should yeah one is we should give time for ourselves.

Next, we should follow a proper and healthy diet, like a timely diet. We should have some physical activity like doing at least 10 to 15 minutes of exercise, meditation, or yoga, especially Surya Namaskara. So at least eight times, if we do Surya Namaskara, that would benefit the women. Even though it is not only for diabetes but for all health conditions, it would be beneficial. 

Natural Remedies For Hormone Imbalance

NourishDoc: So those are generally excellent ideas, and we know that yoga is very effective, right? But I want to focus today on Ayurveda. The type of panchakarma therapies, the type of imbalance, whether it’s Vata, Kapha, or pitta. What specifically to Ayurveda, what is the imbalance that is caused? That’s number one. What type of therapies does Ayurveda talk about, right? Can you talk about that precisely how you do yoga? 

Dr. Shweta: Okay. So, in Ayurveda, when we see diabetes as a disease, it is categorized into all three, vata, pitta, and Kapha. So based on the symptoms. So if the person is obese and if the person is having the symptoms like laziness or frequent urination and all. So it is related to the kapha, and if it is like the person has a burning sensation, acidity, et cetera, It is related to pitta, and if the person is having like like frequent urination and in between symptoms and if the person is thin, so that is related to vata.

So what happens is again, based on the symptoms, doctors can decide which type of diabetes it is. Usually, diabetes is compared with Madhumeha in Ayurveda, so Madhu means honey, and meha is frequent urination. So in Ayurveda, the diagnosis of diabetes is when you urinate, when you pass the urine. If the ants come and if they surround the urine, we can say it is diabetes or it is a Madhumeha because the urine will be very sweet in nature. In the diabetic person.

Panchakarma for menopause & diabetes

So, that is the diagnostic criteria, as you say in Ayurveda. So, in Panchkarma, two different types of diabetes or prameha are mentioned. So that is one is Sthula, and one is krisha. Sthula means obese if the person is obese and develops diabetes. The one is Krisha, that the person is slim or if a person is thin and if it develops or diabetes.

Here, we can advise the Panchakarma based on the patient’s strength and disease strength. So usually, all types of Panchakarma, that is, five procedures, can be advised in diabetes or prameha, but the only thing is we should understand or we should examine the patient’s strength and the disease strength because Panchakarma is like when we say it is it looks effortless thing. However, when we do it, it’s tough because, in that procedure, the person should give 100% to that treatment; otherwise, there will be no effect.

So, like the first few days, we will give digestion-related medicine and then give medicated ghee on an empty stomach. So, once there is a feature like a person gets oily skin and if the person gets very oily face and all. So, then we will understand. Yes, the person is thoroughly moistened from the inside, and then we will go for the whole body oil massage and steam.

If the person has BP and diabetes, we avoid the steam; after all massage and steam, give one medicine to the medicine as it depends on the dosha. If it is vata dominant, we’ll go for the enema treatment; that is, through the anal canal, through the rectum will give the medicine. And the person should pass the motion.

So he will pass all the toxins through the motion. And if the pitta is dominant, we will give the medicine that will cause the purgation. So he may pass 20 to 30 times loose motions. And if the person is kapha dominant. Then will give one lay here. So after that, he starts vomiting. So then again, toxins from the stomach. It will come out. So again, it depends on the dosha and the dominance of dosha. 

NourishDoc: Okay, so it is very personalized; that’s what I wanted to point out. Step number one from the Ayurvedic perspective is to understand the dosha, and then depending on the dosha, precisely the medication or the Panchkama therapy, which can be a bit difficult. But it can be managed, right? Ayurveda can help manage diabetes, but even after all these therapies you’re talking about, whether it’s PanchKarma or some of the medication, the woman still has to maintain herself after that and change her lifestyle. No magic’s going to happen. You want to comment on that because it’s not just like when you did Ayurveda; now you are fixed. You have to improve your lifestyle continuously. 

Healthy Diet & Lifestyle For Menopause And Diabetes

Dr. Shweta: Yes. So after taking Panchakarma treatment, they should follow a proper diet and lifestyle. Then only there is a benefit because after doing Panchakarma, they again start having all types of food items like irritated drinks and pancakes, pastries, even white sugar, white flour, et cetera. So again, it may develop, or it may progress also.

So that’s why in Ayurveda, it’s already said that if you follow a proper diet, you can maintain good health. If you don’t follow a proper diet, then you don’t maintain good health, and there is no use for medicine. So, if you are taking medicine and not following the proper diet, then medicine is useless. If you follow a proper diet, there is no need for medicine. So it is already said in Ayurveda. So that’s why we should follow a proper diet even when taking medicine. Then only like can we fix it and we can maintain good health. 

NourishDoc: Okay, it’s a great way, the way you explained it, it’s beautiful; thank you so much. I just wanted to bring up how women, when all of us get to a certain age, it’s not just suddenly a switch is going to turn on, and then we’re going to start falling off the cliff; our health is going to deteriorate, we can still have excellent health and maintain ourselves as we start aging if we take care of ourselves when we are younger.

As pointed out, it starts in our twenties, and the hormonal imbalance continues when we get into our forties. However, even after that having a good lifestyle, a diet, and an exercise regimen is critical for us to age well and, of course, prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes which we are talking about today. Anything else you like to add? Thank you, and thank you to everyone for supporting us. Anything else you like to add, Doctor Hegde? 

Dr. Shweta: Yeah, I think especially for women like, try to give yourself a time in a day like at least 5 to 10 minutes, so self-finalize yourself so what is lacking and what is like where you are getting more stressed or where you are overthinking and all so that you can understand what’s happening with you and I think you can better you can make your life better with yourself only because in women life, so they don’t care about their self always like they will have many responsibilities, and sometimes they forget what they want also. So that’s why in a day, at least five to 10 minutes, they should give time for themselves and analyze and realize what is needed and what is not. 

NourishDoc: Yeah, self-realization is essential, and you don’t need to realize when you are at a certain age when you are suddenly your kids are gone, and now you say, okay, now I can start living my life, that’s not, how it should be for all of us, women, we as women need to start living a life, and we are early on, starting from, younger age to all the way, we hit, when we hit the post-menopause. Thank you so much, Dr. Hegde, for educating all of us. To everyone else, have a great Labor weekend. Please keep supporting us. We are developing holistic plans specifically for women with a women’s focus. So stay tuned and keep supporting us with that. Thank you so much. Bye bye. 


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