*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
If you are someone who menstruates, you have probably been told that you need a separate basal profile in your pump for the week of your period and that’s it! Wouldn’t it be magical if it was that simple? But true T1D fashion, it is a bit more complex than just that because your insulin needs can shift throughout the entire duration of your cycle. There are 4 phases of a cycle and each phase presents its own unique challenges for T1Ds. Keep reading to see how each phase can impact your insulin needs so you can learn to stay in sync with your monthly flow.
Different Phases of Menstrual Cycle
Menstrual cycles typically last anywhere between 25-35 days and average around 28 days. Throughout the time, hormone levels are constantly fluctuating. Keep reading to see what this could mean for your insulin needs.
The follicular phase typically occurs in the first half of your cycle (days 1-14). During this phase, estrogen is the dominant hormone which typically increases insulin sensitivity meaning blood glucose levels are likely a bit easier to manage during this time.
The next phase of the cycle includes ovulation which usually occurs between days 14-17. During this ovulation phase, there is a sharp spike in luteinizing hormone levels. This hormone will tell the ovary to release its egg in preparation for pregnancy. During this phase, insulin resistance may be increased for about 1-3 days following ovulation.
After ovulation, the next phase of the cycle is the luteal phase which typically occurs during days 17-28. As this phase progresses, progesterone will end up being the dominating hormone. Progesterone typically increases insulin resistance which can increase insulin needs upwards of 30% or more leading up to the first day of menstruation.
As soon as you start your cycle, both estrogen and progesterone drop to their lowest levels. This shift in hormones can lead to a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and require a decrease in insulin needs by 10-30%.
Getting Started with Tracking Your Cycle
Hormonal shifts that occur throughout the menstrual cycle can impact blood glucose levels differently between T1Ds. In order to better understand how your cycle impacts your blood glucose levels, it can be helpful to start tracking your cycle if you don’t already do so. When you begin tracking your cycle, you may be able to put together how the different phases and hormones influence your insulin requirements.
If you want additional support on understanding how your monthly flow impacts your insulin needs, consider listening to Keeping it 100 Radio- Episode 6: Let’s Not Sugar Coat It: What You Didn’t Listen About Your Cycle in Health Class with Valeria Garcia or check out the The Keeping It 100 Journal that includes a dedicated section for to hormonal tracking inside.
Listen to Keeping it 100 Radio today on Apple Podcasts or Spotify