From Georgia, USA:
My teenage daughter has experienced very high blood glucose readings while she has her period and her pediatrician decided to try her on birth control pills and see if it would help. Her endocrinologist agreed. During the same time frame she was also switched to Lilly brand NPH and Lispro. Her readings during her period continued to be high. The only advantage seemed to be a decrease in the cramping she has. I would like to know your opinion about using birth control pills to only control BG readings and cramps and alternative approaches.
Birth control pills will often improve the symptoms of menses, but I am not aware that they will necessarily improve blood glucose control. Oral contraceptives are used by diabetic women with apparent safety. Progesterone is associated with increased insulin resistance. However, estrogen appears to increase tissue sensitivity to insulin, so the effects of each of these hormones are somewhat balanced. Nevertheless, the recommendation is that women on birth control pills should have an evaluation of weight, blood pressure, lipid levels, and HgB A1c after the first cycle and every 3-4 months after, along with the usual blood glucose monitoring.
Original posting 22 Mar 97
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