As a woman, you go through profound changes during menopause, and this affects your emotional and physical health. At that time, you go through a series of metabolic changes that can lead to blood sugar imbalance, and other serious health associated problems. A study that tracked metabolic changes in women as they progressed through menopause found that one out of six women developed blood sugar imbalance. Estrogen can create blood sugar imbalance and increase in body fat storage, whereas progesterone normalizes blood sugar levels and helps use fat for energy.
During perimenopause and menopause, fat often starts to accumulate around your midriff and insulin levels start to rise. This triggers a drop in Sex-Hormone-Binding-Globulin (SHBG) levels. With the reduction of SHBG (a substance that attaches to the sex hormones in the blood to make them inert), androgens such as testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – the bioactive ‘male’ sex hormones – begin circulating inside your body. This makes you seem more ‘manly’ in appearance and adds to the fat around your stomach.
If left unchecked, these imbalances further stimulate weight gain and metabolic dysfunction, increasing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you develop blood sugar imbalance during menopause, you will show increased body fat around the stomach, higher insulin levels and lipid imbalances. You will have lower levels of the good cholesterol (HDL) and higher levels of triglycerides. A way to prevent this is to ensure that there is no weight gain during menopause and unhealthy increase in glucose and insulin.
Preventing Blood Sugar Imbalance During Menopause
Blood sugar imbalance, especially low blood sugar, is pronounced in women experiencing early menopause. Such women have a craving for sugar, carbohydrates or alcohol. Some of the signs of early menopause are:
- Menstrual cycles become unpredictable
- Menstrual flow becomes heavier or lighter
- Low blood sugar
- Fatigue for many days before menstrual cycle
- Weight gain and decreased sex drive
- Headaches that could become migraines
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood swings, irritability, or feeling depressed
Liver helps to process excess hormones to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels. You can help prevent blood sugar imbalance by:
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fatty acids from fried and processed foods
- Avoiding pollution
- Eating food, such as, artichoke, beets and beet greens and burdock root
- Exercising to sweat for at least 15 minutes daily
- Replacing lost fluid by drinking at least 1/3 of your body weight in ounces of water everyday
The right kind of food can work like medicine. A proper diet promotes good health during menopause, assists the body to adjust itself to change, keeps the hormones more balanced and supports the endocrine system. There is a need to stabilize blood sugar levels, a need to correct blood sugar imbalance. To increase blood sugar levels when the glucose levels fall too low, the adrenal gland releases adrenalin and the pancreas releases glucagons. A sweet snack can boost sugar levels.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.