Sorry guys this one is for the girls. This is one aspect of life that doesn’t affect your diabetes, but for us girls we are faced with the not so pleasant monthly, painful and uncomfortable period. Diabetes, as you know can be absolutely crazy at times, when you are stressed, fatigued, ill, let’s just say a lot of things can affect your BG levels. So let’s now throw in the monthly period we girls go through.
At different points in the menstrual cycle, BG levels can be affected. It can differ from person to person and for me, it has always been a challenging time. However, since I had my children, I’ve noticed that my need for insulin fluctuates a great deal at different times within a single month. Sometimes, I need more insulin and sometimes I need a lot less. My insulin requirement severely decrease. Why? I have no idea! Could it just be down to my body changing after experiencing pregnancy? Hormones? Who knows?
As a side note – This also reminds me of when I was going through my teenage years and all the changes I had to make in my insulin regime. Back then I was MDI taking two injections a day which then increased to five injections a day. Anyway, that’s a whole other post entirely.
As frustrating as it has been, I’ve had to deal with this extra struggle that comes with diabetes. At first, the patterns in my sugars were very hard to detect and I suffered from a lot with low BGs. It seems as if, my body just needed a lot less insulin at that particular time. Initially, I must admit I did suspend my pump at certain times just to try and avoid those lows. However, with a lot of hard work, I’ve managed to , when I needed to make changes to my background basal rates. The only real way to do this is to watch what your sugars are doing. I had to write them down and try to find patterns over several months and then compare patterns from month to month. It was crazy!!
So what did I find out?
Week 1 of any month – This is usually the normal week and most stable week. BG’s are close to perfect.
|May 2016 Week 1||Sunday 1/5/2016||Monday 2/5/2016||Tuesday 3/5/2016||Wednesday 4/5/2016||Thursday 5/5/1016||Friday 6/5/2016||Saturday 7/5/2016|
Week 2 (before the P) – This is when things start to get a little tricky and I notice a slight change in my sugar levels. My BG levels start to drop and at this point I have to decrease my basal rates. My pump (Animas Vibe) has a great setting which allows me to reduce or increase the basal rates by a percentage. So Initially, I reduce my basal rates by – 20%, which did nothing, so I then took it down by a further -40% which really helped to stabilise my BG levels.
|May 2016 Week 2||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
Week 3 – (week of the P) – This week all chaos breaks loose on a BG level. Regardless of the changes, I’d made in week 2, I continue to experience severe lows which means I have to decrease my basal rates even further. I do this by using the percentage setting again. First, I reduce it in increments of 10% until I’ve reduced it by -60%. This eventually seems to stop the frequency of low BG levels.
|May 2016 Week 3||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
|Changes in BR||Changes in BR||Changes in BR||Changes in BR|
To completely stabilise my BG’s I must then reduce my insulin sensitivity factor( ISF) and insulin to carb ratio(I:C). My ISF is usually 1U will reduce my BG by 6mmol/1. During this week, I drop it to 1U of insulin reduces my BG by 1mmol/1. My, I: C ratio of week one is 1U: 6g (of carbohydrates), during week 3 this is doubled to 1U: 12g.
In general, during this week I feel hungrier and more exhausted than ever.
Week 4 – This week usually means that I have to increase everything, basal rates, ISF and I: C ratios. My BG levels spike beyond belief. I have to increase my basal rate setting by +60%, drop ISF back to 1U : 6mmol/l and I:C ratio back to 1U : 6g.
|May 2016 Week 4||Sunday 8/5/2016||Monday 9/5/2016||Tuesday 10/2016||Wednesday 11/5/2016||Thursday 12/5/1016||Friday 13/5/2016||Saturday 14/5/2016|
|Changes in BR||Changes in BR|
I suppose for those who have no clue about the work both I and my pump have to do to manage this condition, then you can really see how beneficial it is to me. I well and truly appreciate my pump and I am so lucky to have it.
I really think that the drastic fluctuations were due to possible pregnancy hormones which still existed in my system. I really don’t know, it’s just a guess. I decided to do a detox to try and flush out my system and I thought that maybe it would help to get me back into a more normal BG crazy diabetes management routine. After the detox, I noticed a change in the way my BG’s behaved. They weren’t as crazy as they had been and there was definitely a great improvement. I also took it a little further and started to:
- Work out more and maintaining a more regular routine
- Tried to get more sleep – which is hard as a mama of two but my body definitely needs and benefits from it.
- Eat more clean/watch my portions etc
- I do detoxes from time to time to flush out my system.
With all these changes I’ve been able to cut down my basal rates to just having two programme setting for the month. One for the week before and during my period and the two weeks after my period.
It’s a tough one girls but it has to be done. Close monitoring of those BG is really the only way to figure the unpredictability of those sugars on a normal week without a period. So it becomes even more crucial during the menstrual cycle.
This is yet another aspect of the crazy life of a diabetic!