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From Alberta, Canada:

I have a 15 year old daughter who has been a diabetic for 4 1/2 years. Recently she began having trouble with very painful periods. After seeing her GP he suggested putting her on a low-dose birth control pill to ease her symptoms. He had no real answer as to the effect the pill has on diabetics. Can you help?


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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