Question: I am thirty-seven years old and have had type 2 diabetes for 10 years. I have not had my period for three months and I have been having periods where I get extremely hot. Did I go through menopause? Can I go off my birth control without worrying about pregnancy?
Answer: This is an excellent question! The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has a strict definition of menopause. They define it as one full year without menses (or having your period). Symptoms of menopause usually start years before menopause takes place. Symptoms such as hot flashes, trouble sleeping, sweating, and vaginal dryness frequently occur. In women with diabetes going through menopause, the changes in female hormone levels can cause changes in blood sugar levels and there also may be an increased problem with yeast infections.
The average age of menopause in the United States is 51 years old. If a woman goes through menopause before the age of 40 it is called “pre-mature menopause.” Although not common, it can happen naturally or it can be due to medications such as chemotherapy, radiation or autoimmune diseases such as thyroid problems.
Is it possible that you are pregnant? You should go to your physician for a pregnancy test and to talk over birth control methods that are right for you. Do no assume you will not get pregnant at this time!
Your doctor may want to consider testing your thyroid if you are not pregnant and may also want to test your estrogen levels.
Taking good care of your-self at every stage of life is very important. Asking questions about your health needs is always a good idea. Never be afraid to talk to your healthcare team about questions you have.
Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN