Hot flashes and night sweats are the two hallmark symptoms of perimenopause. They also happen to be the hallmark symptoms of low blood sugar for someone with type 1 diabetes. When the wind begins to blow and change is in air, what’s a girl to do? Know as much as possible about the course, as you head into the winds of change!
I have long suffered from being too cold. In the middle of summer, I can be found sleeping with socks on, and no matter the temperature of the room, I have a sheet and blanket over me. On a hot steamy August night, I woke up feeling sweaty, and my Dexcom reading was 120. I took my blood sugar with my meter and it read 132. What? And this happened a couple more times.
I started to notice that I was feeling warmer and also I noticed that on some days, my blood sugars were roaring high, or roaring low, like I’ve never experienced. I started to wonder if at 48, I might be seeing the symptoms for perimenopause. With this trend in hand, I called my CDE, Judy, who is a CDE, RD and type 1 for over 50 years and who happens to be 60. I knew if I needed to understand, or confirm this process, she’d be golden! Here’s what Judy and I discussed about “the change.”
To clarify the difference, menopause is when a woman does not have her period for a year; perimenopause is when the hormones begin to fluctuate as a woman begins to walk toward menopause. It can last for 3-5 years before a woman hits menopause. For women with diabetes, perimenopause and menopause can make diabetes management more challenging.
The following is a list of symptoms that could affect every woman. While I’m listing quite a few, don’t despair, you won’t have them all, nor will you have all of them at the same time.
Menstrual irregularity. As ovulation become more erratic, periods becoming longer or shorter and flow may be light or profuse. Some women may skip periods. Early perimenopause is defined by length of time, 7 days or more, having your period. Late perimenopause is signaled by missed periods and intervals of 60 days or more between periods.
Hot Flashes. This is what has prompted this blog! 65 to 75 percent of women will experience hot flashes. The intensity, duration and frequency vary. Hot flashes appear most often during late perimenopause. The difference between night sweats and hot flashes is that night sweats are severe hot flashes that drench nightclothes and sheets and are not associated with environment or fever.
Sleeplessness. Sleep is less sound, due to discomfort from hot flashes and nigh sweats, but some will experience restless sleep due to hormonal flux.
Moody blues. Some women will experience mood swings, irritability, or depression. Some of this can be associated with fatigue from sleep deprivation, or it could be associated with hormonal changes.