all women have a regular four-week menstruation cycle; cycles
can range from between 20 to 40 or more days, and in some
women the cycle length changes regularly. Diabetes, a condition
in which a person has higher than normal blood sugar, can
cause damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other
organs. Unusually long, extremely irregular, or infrequent
menstrual cycles may be linked to insulin resistance and the
development of type 2 (or adult-onset) diabetes.
To assess the risk for type 2 diabetes in women with a history
of irregular menstrual cycles, the authors of a recent study
in the Journal of the American Medical Association
followed over 100,000 women who had reported their menstrual
cycle patterns from 18-22 years of age. A "usual" cycle was
considered to be 26 to 31 days; weight, race, family history,
cigarette use, and other factors were also examined.
Women with long (40+ days) or irregular menstrual cycles
were more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes
over the 10-year study period than women with usual cycles.
Women with very short cycles (21 days or less) were 1.5 times
more likely to develop the condition than those with normal
cycles. Overweight women had a significantly increased risk
for type 2 diabetes as well, but obesity could not account
for the increased risk in women with irregular cycles.
Unusual menstrual cycles may indicate metabolic changes that
increase a woman's risk for insulin resistance. Insulin resistance
hinders a woman's ability to process sugars and can cause
type 2 diabetes over time. If you typically have very long
or short menstrual cycles, especially if your menstrual cycle
is highly irregular, take extra precautions to prevent the
onset of type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic
about diabetes prevention, and go to http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/women.html
for more information on women's health.
Solomon CG, Hu FB, Dunaif A, et al. Long or
highly irregular menstrual cycles as a marker for risk of
type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of the American Medical
Association 2001:286(19), pp. 2421-2426.