Diabetes and Puberty

Puberty can greatly affect management of Type 1 Diabetes through the constant fluctuations in blood sugars. It is common for blood sugar control to lessen through puberty for a variety of reasons. Starting in puberty, the lean body mass doubles over a period of 25 years thus increasing the amount of insulin required. During this time there is also an increase in the development of insulin resistance. Due to these changes, it is often common for A1C levels to rise during puberty. 

During puberty, "Dawn Phenomenon" seems to occur at its most influential. The need for insulin is generally higher between 5am and 8am because of dawn phenomenon. When this increase in insulin is needed but is not given, blood sugars will rise during this time. 

For most women with diabetes, blood sugars often fluctuate during their menstrual cycle. It is common for a rise in blood sugars a few days before menstruating, then a drop in blood sugars to occur in the first few days of their cycle beginning. 

The effectiveness of insulin declines by about 30% to 50% during puberty due to growth and sexual hormones causing insulin resistance. For most teens, insulin doses are constantly adjusted and raised to account for these changes. However, once puberty is over, these insulin changes stabilize and often go back to what they were. 

JDRF Teen Toolkit


This Teen Toolkit by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, covers a variety of topics through the teen years including physiology, friendships, school, driving, rebellion, as well as transitioning to self - care.

JDRF Teen Toolkit