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From Nashua, New Hampshire, USA:

I am a 25 year old female who have had diabetes for 13 years now. I am in good control (last A1C was 5.3). My question is about birth control. I am anxious about going on oral contraceptive pills. It has taken me about ten years to get in "great control." I was wondering if you have read any literature on "the best birth control options" for Type 1's in terms of not having it affect blood glucose control? I do not smoke and do not have any diabetes related complications as of yet.


Oral contraceptives are used by diabetic women with apparent safety. Progesterone is associated with increased insulin resistance. However, estrogen appears to increase tissue sensitivity to insulin, thus the effects of each of these hormones are somewhat balanced. Nevertheless, the recommendation is that diabetic women on birth control pills should have an evaluation of weight, blood pressure, lipid levels, and Hemoglobin A1c after the first cycle and every 3-4 months after in addition to the usual blood glucose monitoring.

It is difficult to recommend one particular brand of birth control pill over another since the medications are so similar. However, you should pick one with the lowest estrogen (progesterone being the component that is critical for contraception). You can discuss your choices with your gynecologist.


Original posting 18 May 1998
Posted to Family Planning


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