Mother Nature, I’d Like to Return Your Gift, Please. Diabetes Doesn’t Get Along with Periods!

Mother Nature, I’d like to take a rain check!

If you are not quite comfortable with reading or talking about the “Time of the Month,” gift from mother nature- AKA period. Then… this post might not be for you- I won’t be “graphic.” This post was also written before my PCOS and endometriosis diagnosis in 2016- as well as before going on continuous birth control.

I remember a @DSMA (diabetes social media advocacy) Twitter chat where one of the questions was about acceptance- all in all- I feel like I have pretty much accepted diabetes (to a point and as much as you can)– then I realized- I do not accept the combination of diabetes and my period- and to be honest- I really don’t plan on it. 

Each month, I think I have it figured it out. I got the hang of this. I know it’s coming. I know what usually happens. I’ve been doing this for years. I make the needed changes- cross my fingers- hope for the best. But then, I realize- NOPE- let’s play guess and check all over again. 

Mother Nature, I'd Like to Return Your Gift, Please. Diabetes Doesn't Get Along with Periods!

Here’s what I know-

First of all- one of my former primary care doctors back in 2006 didn’t want me on birth control because it was all my diabetes’ fault- ummm- bye- I switched to a different doctor of course- at least they didn’t blame my sprained ankle on diabetes (still my favorite blame game…)

Why did I want birth control?

Two reasons; the excruciating-hospital-inducing-visit-pain-that-wasn’t-regular and the fact that my blood sugar was a complete mess.

How could I plan blood sugar wise if I had no idea when to know when that gift (I would like to return) would come?

My insurance also didn’t want to cover it (back in 2006- but I still battled them on payment and type until I switched to my job’s insurance in 2015)….

So for a while, the pain is out of the way (for the most part), and I know when it’s coming (usually)…

About one day before my period, my blood sugar wants to spike to the 400’s+++. But watch out- I got that temp basal and increased long acting insulin dosage coming for ya the day before because I have it marked on my calendar.

Oh, but you want to make my body more resistant to insulin while running high? That’s what my mega pattern is for aka my Sick/Period Pattern in my pump. My basal rates are higher; carb ratios more heavy duty; and you don’t stand a chance against that correction factor. (at some points it is almost double my usual). BOOM.

Then, as the days go on, I take a little less long acting insulin each day until I get to my normal routine. At the end of it all I return to my normal pattern.

I also check my ketones about 4 times each day because I’ve noticed I’m more prone to them.

All handy-dandy right? Nope. Because each time I think I have it figured out- my body tells me “tricked ya”; I run lower or higher or the roller coaster arrives. So I guess and check again. But at least I’m not awkward 14 year old me who doesn’t like to talk about her period chilling at the hospital because of the pain

But wait, I haven’t even acknowledged the “normal” period things. Like my uncontrollable hunger and need for sweets. My overwhelming laziness and exhaustion. My increased anxiety. The pain. It hurts to work out. (those are my usual’s). My mood a few days before is not anywhere near charming (and that’s being polite). The acne is out of this world.

Which, of course, adds to the blood sugar.

And one time the male endo looks at me and goes- so you got that handled now, right? You’ll keep your blood sugars in line during that week. You’re hilarious.

I still remember my family and I thought we had diabetes all figured out. Then hormones happened, and it was back the dry-erase board- I’m still chilling there. Trying to find something that works.

Diabetes, plus my period, plus the teen years– I would say I want to apologize now- but truth be told not really- because the ball wasn’t truly in my court.

Part of me thinks that I won’t find the magic button to make diabetes and my period a-okay. But that’s okay with me (I guess?). But… I’ll still try to figure it out.

Sorry (not sorry) healthcare providers- I’m most likely not going to work out the first few days of my period. You’ll find me on the couch with Netflix and Pinterest. Accompanied with a cupcake or something sweet plus some popcorn and diet-coke. While in my hand, a phone with texts to rant to my friends with diabetes who get that whole period and diabetes thing. With my CGM looking like a roller coaster one day, or a mountain the next, or maybe an occasional flat line. While I also want to throw the CGM across the room.

While thinking to myself that I don’t think kids are for me sooo… why? and at the same time so glad that when I studied abroad I got myself a “Moon-cup.”

I can remember the days when I wouldn’t dare talk about my period- those days are long gone.

I’ve been trying to think of a good way to close to this- and I don’t really have one?

besides-diabetes and my period will probably forever remain something I will never truly accept. (not in the bad kind of way more of the WTF kind of way).


Editor’s Note: This was originally published in October 2015 and was updated for clarity and accuracy in September 2018.

Mother Nature, I’d Like to Return Your Gift, Please. Diabetes Doesn’t Get Along with Periods!


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We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy

7 thoughts on “Mother Nature, I’d Like to Return Your Gift, Please. Diabetes Doesn’t Get Along with Periods!

    • thank you so much for that affirmation! This is something I’ve been working (trying to talk about all sides of Diabetes and what I feel like I don’t see a lot of). So thank you so much for that! and you are very welcome!

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  3. This is very late for a reply, but I just came across this through DiabetesSisters.

    I have been T1 since 1986 (I was 21), and I am now dealing with perimenopause, and feeling sorry for myself because of what it is doing to my previously semi-erratic hormones. These hormones are now totally crazy, and I have been feeling very alone, but not so alone anymore – THANKS!

    I read the list of health issues that you deal with, and recognized several from my own genepool. The ADHD that runs rampant in both sides of my family affects me somewhat, but not as much as it affects 3 of my 6 siblings (and you don’t want to know what perimenopause hormones does to someone taking Ritalin – my older sister).

    I totally get the “blame it on diabetes” thing that some doctors do without even blinking. I have slightly crossed eyes, and have since birth. I thought (when I thought about it at all) that everyone sees double when they completely relax their eyes? No?? Who knew??? But about 8 years ago, when I asked her about it, my optometrist told me that I needed to see a specialist because the crossed-eyes must be caused by my diabetes … even though I was sure that I had been seeing things this way since early childhood (pre-dating the diabetes by about two decades). The specialist was interested to see someone who had adapted so well to the crossed-eyed-ness that, for the first 40 or so years of her life, she didn’t know that she had it, but confirmed that it was congenital.

    Thanks for making me feel less alone!

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