Diabetes and Yeast Infections
Metabolic Health

Diabetes and Yeast Infections

Diabetes is not a condition that comes on its own. It occurs and arrives with a plethora of other equally devastating elements and can affect one’s body and mind in multiple ways. It plays a huge role in the life of the person diagnosed and it requires a lot of time, effort, and patience to begin to be able to optimally deal with diabetes and its consequences. Even then, it may not always be possible to accurately deduce the patterns and complications associated with it. For example, unexplained tiredness, foot infection, erratic and sudden drops in the sugar levels, etc are all a part and parcel of diabetes. 

One cannot predict when or how these aspects may erupt into their lives and the amount of time that goes into treating these conditions can be taxing and draining. Hospital visits, check-ups, and follow-ups, all of these become a regular part of the life of someone with diabetes. Another major issue that can affect many people with diabetes would be yeast infections. They are increasingly common in today’s day and age and can cause another series of complications. 

Diabetes and Yeast Infections

High blood sugar levels or uncontrolled levels are associated with several different types of distress. Poor control of the overall HbA1c can lead to damage to the eyes, heart, fingers, feet, kidneys, and many other parts of the body as well. Hyperglycemia is not only uncomfortable in the short term but can also be severely fatal in the long-run too. 

Yeast infection due to diabetes is also the result of uncontrolled and frequent high blood sugars. These infections often attack the genital areas which can make doing anything supremely uncomfortable and painful. Due to the area that it affects, not many people are openly talking about the nature of this infection and how it affects the day-to-day routine while it is active in the body. This results in a lack of awareness in many people which can make dealing with it even harder. 

What is a Yeast Infection?

The Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies a yeast infection as an overgrowth of yeast on certain parts of the body. Yeast, essentially, is a type of fungus that makes these infections fungal infections. Yeast infection diabetes is one of the biggest concerns as they are common and can get painful. High blood sugars work to catalyze the growth of yeast in the body. How this works is that when there is excess sugar in the blood, it also leads to a higher level of glucose present in the urine. This results in an overgrowth of yeast. 

Another common type of yeast-related infection can also affect other parts of the body like – the mouth, throat, and tongue. This category of infection is called thrush. Once there is an overgrowth of yeast in the body, it becomes vital to deal with it immediately. The discomfort and the painful symptoms associated with the overgrowth of this fungus are impossible to ignore. 

Diabetes and yeast infections are common in both males and females, however, there is a higher prevalence in women. In women, these infections are called vulvovaginal candidiasis. It affects the areas around the vagina, the vaginal opening, and the vulva. Along with being uncomfortable, they can also be hard to get rid of. 

Diabetes and yeast infection in males is commonly called ‘jock itch’ and can be related to men wearing sweaty jockstraps for a long duration. This, combined with continuous high blood sugar levels, can create the perfect environment for an overgrowth of yeast. In males, it can occur around the testicles, inner thighs, and the butt area. In uncircumcised men, it can also be prevalent around the head of the penis.

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Signs & Symptoms of Yeast Infections

Initially, owing to the subtlety in the signs, it can be easy to ignore. However, unfortunately, the symptoms can escalate quickly and then become uncomfortable to ignore. Here are a few signs and symptoms of yeast infection diabetes that you can keep an eye out for:

  • Stinging or burning 
  • Incessant itching
  • Some odor
  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Creamy white discharge in the initial stages and clumpy white discharge during the later stage
  • Redness around the area
  • In severe cases, swelling
  • Pain or burning during intercourse

In case these symptoms are persistent and a few more appear like – yellow discharge, strong odor, bloody discharge, pain in the back or stomach, fever and vomiting, frequent urge to pee, etc, visiting a doctor would be important.

Common Causes of Yeast Infections

The occurrence of a yeast infection due to diabetes can have several different causes. Most of them would be related to the overall control of blood sugar levels in the body. This is one of the reasons why doctors strictly emphasize maintaining the optimal range of HbA1c to avoid these complications. High blood sugars create a susceptible environment for yeast to grow and multiply.

Some of the common causes are:

  1. High sugar levels – This does not happen every time you have high blood sugar, it can happen when the frequency and duration of the highs is over 250mg/dL very often. 
  2. Medication – Some diabetes medications can also result in an overgrowth of yeast. Keep a keen eye out on the signs in case you have just begun to take meds or have changed them. Some antibiotics are also known to cause this
  3. Stress – Severe stress and lack of coping mechanisms can yield yeast infections. 
  4. Tampons or pads – A diabetes yeast infection female can be aggravated or commenced due to these menstrual hygiene products. 
  5. Damp clothing – Wetsuits, damp underwear, sweaty jockstraps, etc can also contribute to excess moisture and the growth of yeast.

Can Diabetes increase the Risk of Yeast Infections?

Yeast infection diabetes has a strong link to one another due to several different factors that come into play. Poorly controlled sugars are one of the major reasons for an increase in this occurrence. Some other reasons why diabetes can affect yeast its overgrowth could be:

  1. A compromised immune system
  2. Extra sugars in yeast-thriving areas of the body
  3. Persistent infections 

These could be some common reasons why a diagnosis of diabetes could result in a higher chance of developing the overgrowth of yeast. 

How are yeast infections treated?

Yeast infections among people with diabetes can be of varying degrees. They can often occur unannounced and can be the cause of severe issues. After the proper diagnosis of this infection and ruling out the causes, the doctor will prescribe you certain treatment options based on certain criteria like – cause, area infected, the severity of the symptoms, etc.

  • Mild to moderate infections – These infections are usually cleared with the help of creams, ointments, and any suppository remedies. Often, the course of treatment lasts for 7 days and the infection is reviewed later to check for the need for continual doses. The medication is often available over the counter with a prescription. Oral doses can be taken once or twice a day. 
  • Severe infections – These may take a long time to treat –approximately 17 -20 days is what a person should be prepared for. At times, a combination of ointments, creams, tablets, medications, etc are recommended for the persons infected. Doctors might recommend one abstain from sexual intercourse or wear a condom. 
  • Recurring infections – If the yeast infection returns several times, a long-term solution might need to be worked upon with the doctor to ensure that the growth is not haywire and that it does not affect other parts of the body. This treatment usually lasts for about 6 months. 
  • Women with a diabetes yeast infection – More than half the women with diabetes are known to develop this infection due to a specific type of fungus. Luckily, the fungus responds well to a long course of suppository medication.

Preventing Yeast Infections

Preventing yeast infection would be important as the treatment options are limited and expensive. Most of the time, it is also harder to get rid of these infections, and the longer they stay, the more problematic they can get. Prevent the occurrence of these infections by making sure that your blood sugar levels are under control. This would be the first and most important step. 

Secondly, you can keep a regular check on the genital areas and other places in the body where these infections are most likely to develop. In case of any sign that is abnormal, visit the doctor immediately. 

Make sure to not wear any wet clothes and wash your towel regularly. Also, change and wash your underwear every day after use.

For women, any pads or tampons that cause rashes or discomfort should be changed immediately. This will also help in the prevention of any growth of yeast.

Bottomline

Yeast infections are common and painful. Due to the lack of awareness, these are not highly recognized and can go unnoticed. However, equip yourself with all the possible information on yeast infections, their signs and symptoms, and what you can do in case you are affected by it. What would be of more importance would be to learn how to prevent them so that you do not have to deal with them in the first place. 

FAQs

1. Are Yeast Infections more common with Diabetes?

Yes, yeast infections are more common with diabetes because of the frequent possibility of high blood sugars. Additionally, the compromised immune system and deposits of sugar in the urine can also create an environment suited for the overgrowth of yeast.

2. Can too much Sugar cause Yeast Infections?

Yes, indirectly, eating too much sugar might cause yeast infections in a person with diabetes. Consumption of sugars will spike blood sugar levels which may also result in excess glucose in the bloodstream and urine. This can give rise to yeast infections

3. What is the Main Cause of Yeast Infections?

Among the many causes that contribute to it, the main cause of yeast infections, especially in a person living with diabetes, would be high blood sugars

4. What Foods Cause Yeast Infections?

Processed sugars, gluten-filled foods, refined grains, etc can cause yeast infections as they contribute to a spike in the blood sugar levels.

References

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317824#remedies

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