June 1, 2009
Question from Citrus Heights, Californina, USA:
My granddaughter has not started her menstrual cycle. Is it possible that a hormone imbalance can mimic diabetes?
Firstly, if the age is really 6 to 12, then it is too soon to even begin to worry about the first menstrual period. She has not reached the average age of first period in the U.S., which is 12 years, 9 months.
That said, poorly controlled diabetes can affect growth and development. It has to be really poor, but such happens. In earlier times, we did see this and do see it in developing countries where insulin isn’t always available. I rarely see it now.
In obese children, puberty actually occurs early and the first menstrual period can be early, very early, in fact, at age nine or so. We attribute this to the obesity and the influence of the fat cells on overall metabolism. I commonly see this now.