Fluctuations of Hyperglycemia and Insulin Sensitivity Are Linked to Menstrual Cycle Phases in Women With T1D

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2015 Oct 14;9(6):1192-9. doi: 10.1177/1932296815608400.


Background: Factors influencing glycemic variability in type 1 diabetes (T1D) may play a significant role in the refinement of closed loop insulin administration. Phase of menstrual cycle is one such factor that has been inadequately investigated. We propose that unique individual patterns can be constructed and used as parameters of closed loop systems.

Method: Women with T1D on continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and continuous glucose monitoring were studied for 3 consecutive menstrual cycles. Ovulation prediction kits and labs were used to confirm phase of menstrual cycle. Glycemic risks were assessed using the low- and high blood glucose indices (LBGI and HBGI). Insulin sensitivity (SI) was estimated using a Kalman filtering method from meal and insulin data. Overall change significance for glycemic risks was assessed by repeated measures ANOVA, with specific phases emphasized using contrasts.

Results: Ovulation was confirmed in 33/36 cycles studied in 12 subjects (age = 33.1 ± 7.0 years, BMI = 25.7 ± 2.9 kg/m(2), A1c = 6.8 ± 0.7%). Risk for hyperglycemia changed significantly during the cycle (P = .023), with HBGI increasing until early luteal phase and returning to initial levels thereafter. LBGI was steady in the follicular phase, decreasing thereafter but not significantly. SI was depressed during the luteal phase when compared to the early follicular phase (P ≤ .05). Total daily insulin, carbohydrates, or calories did not show any significant fluctuations.

Conclusions: Women with T1D have glycemic variability changes that are specific to the individual and are linked to phase of cycle. An increased risk of hyperglycemia was observed during periovulation and early luteal phases compared to the early follicular phase; these changes appear to be associated with decreased insulin sensitivity during the luteal phase.

Keywords: artificial pancreas; closed loop control; continuous glucose monitoring; insulin pump therapy; menstrual cycle; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Infusions, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin Infusion Systems
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Menstrual Cycle / blood*
  • Models, Biological
  • Pancreas, Artificial
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin