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Menopause and Diabetes: Linked?

Hot flushes during menopause can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but could they have a wider impact on your health too?

According to research published in Menopause, the North American Menopause Society journal, in 2017, women who experience hot flushes and night sweats in menopause may be more likely to receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

But how much of a link is there really? Is menopause really to blame for an increased risk of the condition or are other factors likely to be behind it?

Can Menopause Cause Diabetes?

The study involved over 150,000 women in post-menopause, who were monitored for what are known as menopause-related vasomotor symptoms (VMS) (hot flushes and night sweats). It was found that women who experienced these menopause symptoms were 18 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the future, even after other factors were taken into account, such as the women’s weight.

So, is menopause itself to blame for this increased risk?

The study authors explained: “There are several potential explanations for our pattern of findings. The most plausible and consistent explanation may be through associations with sleep disturbance.

“VMS overall are associated with objective and subjective sleep disturbance and individuals with disruptions in both the quantity and quality of sleep have a higher risk of diabetes.”

If menopause symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and difficulty sleeping could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes around the time of menopause, is there a way to manage these symptoms to remove the risk?

How to Manage Your Diabetes Risk in Menopause

Menopause symptoms are caused by an imbalance in your hormones - primarily a decline in your body’s natural oestrogen levels. Therefore, finding a way to address this could help to manage a whole range of symptoms from hot flushes to trouble sleeping.

Natural menopause supplements typically contain ingredients designed to help with this - the soy derivative DT56a that’s found in the Femarelle® supplements we stock is one example. DT56a can act similar to natural oestrogen in your body, allowing you to manage your symptoms.

If you’re no longer suffering from extreme heat fluctuations and you’re able to sleep better thanks to your hormones being better balanced, you could find that your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced too.

However, it’s also important to remember that being overweight or obese is one of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes, so you need to take steps to look after other aspects of your lifestyle.

Changes in your hormonal balance can affect your metabolism, so watch what you’re eating and try to follow a healthy, balanced diet. It’s essential to stay as active as you can too - weight-bearing exercises are best in menopause, as these can help you with managing your risk of osteoporosis.

You may need to address your hormonal balance before you feel ready to tackle your lifestyle habits in menopause. Find out more about the Femarelle® range of natural supplements here.