New research shows that use of the contraceptive pill and longer menstrual cycles are associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).
The study, by Dr Sopio Tatulashvili of Avicenne Hospital, suggests that in general longer exposure to sex hormones, but later in life, could reduce the risk of diabetes, and that women at high-risk of T2D taking the contraceptive pill may require personalised advice.
Early screening to detect poor blood sugar control (that may lead to T2D) could lower the risk of further complications. For this reason, it is important to identify the risk factors of T2D. The aim of this study was to determine the association between various hormonal factors and the risk of developing T2D.
The study included 83,799 French women from the E3N prospective cohort followed between 1992 and 2014. Computer models adjusted for the main diabetes risk factors were used to estimate risk and statistical significance between various hormonal factors and T2D risk. The risk factors adjusted for included body mass index, smoking, age, physical activity, socioeconomic status, education level, family history of T2D, and blood pressure.
The use of contraceptive pills (at least once during a woman’s lifetime compared with no use at all) was associated with a 33 per cent increased risk of developing T2D, and longer time between periods (32 days and over versus 24 days and under) was associated with a 23 per cent increased risk.
The study’s authors say: “Risk induced by oral contraceptives could lead to personalised advice for young women at risk of developing T2D, such as those with a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight or obese, or those with polycystic ovary syndrome.”