Just Like Insulin, Birth Control is a Management Tool- Not a Cure

Perspectives

Just Like Insulin, Birth Control is a Management Tool- Not a Cure

My last blog was about the benefits of birth control for me. I didn’t talk much about the diabetes because I felt that it deserved it’s own space. (along with a few other things).

So birth control and diabetes?

Well to begin with the birth control helps with a lot the period symptoms and problems I have which in term helps with the diabetes.

As we know, periods mess with your blood sugars in general.

Typically my period results in blood sugar spikes with everything going on inside my body. In the past, birth control helped me to plan for my upcoming periods, I increase my insulin a few days before it starts and then slowly go back to my normal dosages towards the end of my period. Before I started birth control, I could never plan for this (or when to start taking pain meds). The time between periods might range from two weeks to two months with little warnings or patterns to figure it out. That would mean chaos for my blood sugars with little ability to plan. In the beginning, I was 13 years old trying to figure this out. I was still learning about my body and diabetes. 

Every time I think I’ve figured out my period and diabetes, it throws me through a loop or works differently from the last time! Back to the drawing board.

It’s also difficult for my blood sugars with the added parts of cravings, too painful to exercise, the pain meds, feeling lazy, etc.

When my periods got worse over this past summer (2016), the blood sugars decided to add random drops into the mix. My endocrinologist instructed me to run higher, which adds to the fun of my mental health.

Mental health can become a vicious cycle for me when you throw in my period and the blood sugar swings (it’s a great combo…).

 

As a women with type 1 diabetes (not even just talking diabetes in general and/or type 2), I have a higher chance of PCOS. Why? No one knows for sure yet. The research is just barely there showing the higher chances. Just having diabetes can impact your periods (before management comes into play)- but often it goes straight to blaming management.

Now the impact

  • Both endometriosis and PCOS are hard to manage- no cure.

  • It is best to get an early diagnosis (well over 10 years late for me, but at least I was on birth control).

The complications

  • Infertility and cancer- endometriosis and PCOS

  • PCOS has a lot more- but it kind of freaks me out to look too much into it. But it impacts your mental health.

  • PCOS- weight gain or difficulty losing weight (well I feel better about freshmen year of college!)

  • PCOS- insulin resistance (well that’s just fun!.....)

 

Plus there’s all of the things that can happen associated with diabetes. (So much to think about and for my anxiety to worry about)

 

So what am I supposed to do about all of this? Besides taking birth control continuously so I don’t have a period anymore.

The “treatments” pushed are birth control, fertility treatments, weight loss, metformin, and the usual tricks to help with your period symptoms.

I’m grateful for pain meds, but this is all there is to apparently “manage” it.

 

I’ve frequently gotten upset about the lack of information for PCOS and endometriosis in general and related to diabetes, but I’ve learned that the lack of information- the idea that it’s taboo starts with just periods in general which I knew- but I didn’t know to the extent of how it relates to diabetes. There’s so much information related to pregnancy, but what happens to children? To women who aren’t ready for kids yet or at all? Those are some of the many questions flying around my head constantly. 

It shouldn't be taboo. There's so much we can learn- from research and each other. There's more that can be done and figured out- to go beyond barely managing it. 

Birth control is a start, but I strive and wish for more that can help me.