Living with diabetes series
Yeast Infections and Type 2 Diabetes
Recognizing, treating, and preventing yeast infections
For those with diabetes, the high sugar levels make them prone to yeast infections. Thrush is the most common form of yeast infection which thrives in warm and damp parts of the body, most commonly the male and female genital organs, mouth, underarms, groin, and some areas of the skin. Those with dry mouths and high levels of sugar in the saliva also invite thrush.
What causes yeast infections?
Thrush or yeast infections are caused by high blood sugar levels and a compromised immune system, which is common in diabetics. Skin irritations are also likely to promote infections. If you smoke, the chances of oral thrush are increased. The use of oral contraceptives can trigger vaginal thrush.
How to recognize a yeast infection?
Vaginal thrush can manifest as irritation and soreness and severe itching around the vagina accompanied by a white curd-like appearance around the skin and white vaginal discharge. Pain during sexual intercourse is likely as the vulva reddens and feels sore. This is an infectious condition.
Oral thrush or candidiasis starts off with a bitter taste in the mouth, redness and bleeding, creamy white patches inside the mouth on the cheeks, tongue, and roof of the mouth. The throat may be painful and cracks develop at the corners of the lips making it even worse.
In men, thrush shows up as redness and swelling of the penis head, itching around its tip, and a discharge under the foreskin accompanied by a nasty smell. They experience pain during urination and can develop a white curd-like look on the skin. Sex is painful.
As mentioned earlier, skin infections can also develop in the armpits, which are warm and moist and, in the groin, especially in those who tend to sweat a lot and do not follow proper hygiene.
While thrush/yeast infections are quite common, for diabetics it is a big problem. Since the high sugar levels place them in constant danger of developing a yeast infection, they must make sure they control their blood sugar levels. Although occasional infections may not be serious, regular yeast infections, especially left untreated can be a real problem as they can be passed on to others.
Can yeast infections be treated?
Topical antifungal creams are the first choice followed by oral prescription medication.
Can you prevent yeast infections?
The best thing that diabetics can do is control their blood sugar levels to minimize the frequency and severity of these infections.
Other things to do are
- avoiding very tight clothes, especially underwear
- maintaining proper hygiene by washing and keeping the genital areas dry
- as far as possible, using mildly scented soaps and shampoos
Oral yeast infections can be avoided by:
- following good dental hygiene
- brushing your teeth twice a day and rinsing your mouth after every meal,
- flossing to remove food particles
- using an oral rinse
- getting regular dental health checks
- if you wear dentures, make sure they’re clean.
Women with type 2 diabetes and yeast infections
Women with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop yeast infections as their sugar levels are higher. Yeast organisms are a part and parcel of a woman’s flora but when there is increased growth of these, it becomes a problem. Since high sugar levels also show up in the mucus of the vagina and vulva, this invites thrush.
The thing with diabetes is this: it is all about sugar level control as poorly controlled blood sugar can result in diabetes complications, that include a reduced ability to fight infections. This applies to yeast infections, which, when they appear, can take a long time to heal.
In a majority of people diagnosed with diabetes, the main problem is the lack of diabetes education. The Living with Type-2 Diabetes series will cover various aspects of the condition with tips and suggestions to manage it better.
In this series so far:
The ABCs of Diabetes
Blood Pressure and Living with Diabetes
Does Dessert Have a Place in the Diabetes Diet
The Cholesterol-Diabetes Connection
The Diabetes Diet and Living with Type 2 Diabetes
Let’s Bust 10 Diabetes Diet Myths!
Why is Exercise Important in Diabetes?
Why Footcare Plays A Crucial Role in Managing Diabetes
What is the Glycemic Index?
Diabetic Neuropathy — What You Should Know
Oral Health and Diabetes
Why It Is Important To Understand Ketones In Diabetes
Vision, Eye Care, and Diabetes
Insulin, Blood Glucose, and Diabetes
Kidney Health and Why It Is Important in Diabetes
Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely for educational purposes only and does not substitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your physician for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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