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Menstrual Cycle and Its Effects on Glucose Levels

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The constant fluctuations in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may affect blood glucose levels. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sanap Sneha Umrao

Published At August 30, 2023
Reviewed AtApril 12, 2024


Puberty demarks the start of reproductive life in a woman. After puberty, women start menstruation, which is essential for their reproduction and fertility. Multiple changes occur during the menstrual cycle, which is driven by changes in hormonal levels. These imbalances in hormones could alter glucose levels. Hence it is important to understand the positive and negative impacts of the menstrual cycle on glucose levels. Glucose plays a crucial role in providing energy to the body. Constant changes in glucose levels may affect the homeostasis of the body. Maintaining optimal glucose levels is essential for the optimal functioning of every cell. Hence monitoring glucose levels is pivotal to understanding the potential benefits and risks and preventing medical complications.

What Is the Menstrual Cycle?

Every woman undergoes a natural process in the female reproductive system after puberty. This process involves a few hormonal and physiological changes, which prepare the body for pregnancy. This cycle may last for around 28 days. However, it may vary from one person to another.

What Are the Steps Involved in the Menstrual Cycle?

The following are a few steps involved in the process of the menstrual cycle:

  • Menstruation.

  • Follicular phase.

  • Ovulation.

  • Luteal phase.

How to Track the Menstrual Cycle?

It is essential to track the menstrual cycle to understand fertility and to monitor irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Various methods involved in tracking the menstrual cycle are listed below:

  • Using a calendar to mark the start and end date of each period could be helpful in estimating the duration of an individual’s menstrual cycle roughly. However, the calendar method could be less successful if the individual has irregular periods.

  • Observing the appearance of cervical mucus and its texture changing through the menstrual cycle can track changes indicating fertility. When the mucus is clear, it may signify fertile days.

  • Another method is to measure the basal body temperature. Measuring this temperature every morning may help identify the ovulation timing. However, it may not predict the menstrual cycle in advance.

  • Smartphones these days may have a few tracking apps. It helps record the periods and symptoms associated with it. It can also be used as a future predictor for menstrual cycles.

What Are Glucose Levels?

Glucose is essential for the body’s energy levels and is often derived from the food consumed. It is crucial to maintain appropriate levels for the proper functioning of the body. The glucose levels are regulated through various hormones, like insulin and glucagon. Insulin helps reduce blood sugar levels and enhances sugar intake in the cells for energy production or storage. Glucagon may act to increase blood glucose levels by stimulating the liver to release stored glucose in the bloodstream.

What Causes High and Low Levels of Glucose?

High and low levels of glucose are called hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Both conditions could be caused due to various factors and medical conditions, some of which are mentioned below:

High Glucose Levels:

  • Poor exercise.

  • Snacking between meals.

  • Dehydration.

Low Glucose Levels:

  • Too much insulin.

  • Alcohol intake.

  • Less carbohydrate intake.

  • Duration of physical activity.

How to Determine Glucose Levels?

Glucose levels can be determined by various methods, a few are mentioned below:

  • Pricking the finger with a lancet to draw a small amount of blood sample and placing it on the test strip, and inserting it into the glucometer displays glucose levels in a few seconds.

  • An oral glucose tolerance test may help monitor glucose levels. It involves consuming glucose solutions, and the blood samples are collected before and after the intake of glucose solution. It gives a rough idea of the glucose processed in the body.

  • HbA1C is also helpful in monitoring the average glucose level in the past two or three months.

How Are Glucose Levels Treated?

Lifestyle modifications like losing weight and regular exercise can improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, it is important to manage stress levels. In some cases, medications will be prescribed depending on the individual needs. A few examples include antidiabetic medications and injectable insulin to lower sugar levels.

Does the Menstrual Cycle Affect Glucose Levels?

Menstrual cycles could have a significant impact on glucose levels due to the constantly fluctuating hormone levels that influence insulin sensitivity. It may also lead to changes in blood glucose levels. The menstrual cycle affects glucose levels in the following ways:

  • In the premenstrual phase, a few individuals may undergo symptoms like mood swings, food cravings, and increased hunger. It may be attributed to hormonal changes caused by estrogen and progesterone. It may increase appetite and result in higher carbohydrate intake. This may affect blood glucose levels.

  • During menstrual periods, each individual may experience symptoms like fatigue, cramps, and mood changes. It can disrupt regular eating patterns and impact glucose regulations. In addition, it may cause pain and discomfort, decreasing physical activity and affecting insulin sensitivity.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder affecting menstruation. It is a hormonal disorder that is characterized by increased androgen (male hormone) and ovarian cysts. It may cause high blood glucose levels and increases the risk of developing diabetes.

  • Insulin sensitivity is influenced by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. A few studies have suggested that insulin sensitivity is the lowest during the menstrual phase, thereby potentially increasing blood glucose levels. This effect may vary in each individual.

The influence of the menstrual cycle on glucose levels is highly variable. Some individuals may have noticeable changes in blood glucose levels, while others may not notice any fluctuations. In addition, factors like overall health, body weight, and physical activity may influence the relationship between the menstrual cycle and glucose levels.


Therefore, the menstrual cycle may influence glucose levels due to hormonal changes and sudden food cravings that occur during menstruation. It is important to monitor blood sugar levels and maintain a balanced diet. In addition, regular physical activity can help regulate the menstrual cycle and keep away from diabetes. Diabetes has become a common concern in individuals of all age groups. Hence, it is important to keep glucose levels under control and lead a healthy life.

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Dr. Sanap Sneha Umrao
Dr. Sanap Sneha Umrao

Obstetrics and Gynecology


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