Menstrual irregularities linked to type 1 diabetes

Endocrine Today

November 29, 2010

Gaete X. Fertil Steril. 2010;doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.08.039.

Despite multiple daily insulin doses and attempts at optimal metabolic control, adolescent girls with type 1 diabetes have a higher prevalence of oligomenorrhea compared with healthy adolescents.

Previous data highlight an association between type 1 diabetes and irregular menstruation in women, but few studies have examined this issue in adolescents, according to researchers from Chile.

To fill this informational gap, the researchers conducted a prospective study involving 56 girls with type 1 diabetes seen at pediatric diabetes clinics and 56 girls without the disease from local schools who served as controls. Both groups tracked their days of menstruation using calendars, received monthly motivation to maintain their calendars and participated in bimonthly educational activities.

Girls with type 1 diabetes exhibited delayed menarche, and were older by 6 months. At a mean of 48 days, they also experienced longer menstrual cycles vs. 32 days observed in the control group.

Oligomenorrhea was also reported among 58.9% of girls with type 1 diabetes, whereas only 19.6% of those in the control group experienced this irregularity. These numbers translated to an OR of 5.9 (95% CI, 2.5-13.7) for girls with the disease. With an OR of 6.6 (95% CI, 0.7-56.8), amenorrhea also occurred more often in girls with type 1 diabetes (10.7%) than in girls in the control group (1.8%).

A higher prevalence of oligomenorrhea persisted in girls with optimal metabolic control, defined as an HbA1c level of 7.59% or lower (OR=95% CI, 1.4-15.7), with the proportion of affected girls in this population reaching 53.5%.

Girls with intermediate control, or HbA1c levels between 7.6% and 8.9%, however, had longer cycle durations and higher variation in duration in addition to greater prevalence of oligomenorrhea (OR=10.6; 95% CI, 3.1-36.2).


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.