According to international statistics of 2021, 9% of women in the world population have diabetes. While in India, the prevalence of diabetes in women is 11.7%. The prevalence of diabetes increases in the older age group, and most cases of type 2 diabetes are in individuals more than 45 years old. At the same time, gestational diabetes occurs in women during their childbearing age. Most of the symptoms of diabetes in women are the same as in men, while some symptoms are unique to women.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms in Women
The detection of diabetes in women requires careful monitoring as the symptoms of diabetes in women do not come as quickly as in men. Below mentioned symptoms help in the identification of type 1 diabetes in women:
- Frequent bathroom breaks: Due to increased blood glucose levels, women feel the need to urinate more frequently.
- Feeling thirsty: Frequent urination causes dehydration in the body. Due to this, individuals will be extremely thirsty. This dehydration can also cause itchiness in the skin.
- Feeling hungry and tired: Due to a lack of insulin production in the body, the cells will not be able to extract energy from food. It will cause an increase in hunger, and one might feel lethargic.
- Fruity breath: Increased levels of ketones in patients with diabetes can cause fruity breath.
- Vaginal yeast infections: Increased glucose levels increase the chances of yeast infection in the vagina. It causes vaginal itching and pain. If left untreated, it can also cause vaginal discharge.
- Unexpected weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms in Women
- Decreased sexual drive: Neuropathy in people with diabetes leads to decreased vaginal sensation. Diabetes also causes vaginal dryness. Few women suffer from yeast infections due to diabetes. These factors lead to a decrease in sexual drive in women.
- Urinary infections: Increased levels of blood sugars increase the growth of bacteria. Due to this, the risk of getting urinary tract infections also increases. In diabetes, the urine is retained in the bladder, causing frequent bacterial infections. Signs of type 2 diabetes in women occurring due to urinary tract infections include pain while urinating, burning in the vagina, or blood in the urine.
- Irregular menstruation: Diabetes can cause hormonal changes in the body. Due to hormonal imbalance, the women with type 2 diabetes present with irregular periods, decreased flow, and no ovulation. The risk of developing polycystic ovarian disease also increases in women with type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms in Women
During pregnancy, the female hormones interfere with the functioning of insulin. These changes can cause diabetes in women during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. The symptoms associated with gestational diabetes include:
Increased sugar in the urine
- Dryness in mouth
- Frequent urination
- Vaginal infections
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
Risk Factors for Diabetes in Women?
The most common risk factors that can be a reason for diabetes in future include:
- Old age (more than 45 years)
- Obesity and overweight
- Family history
- Lack of physical activity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Other medical issues impacting insulin, like PCOS
- Had gestational diabetes
- Giving birth to a baby who weighs more than 4 kg
- History of heart disease
- Injury to pancreas
- Excessive physical stress
Most of the effects of diabetes on the human body are the same in both men and women. But women present a few unique symptoms that involve the reproductive system. These symptoms can affect the unborn child and fertility in women. In addition, women are at a higher risk of developing diabetes-related complications in extreme uncontrolled cases, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and depression. Hence, understanding the importance of these symptoms helps in the early detection of diabetes. Early detection helps in a better prognosis. Women can start a diabetic diet for women at an early stage to improve overall glucose control in the body.
1. Can Diabetes affect the Menstrual Cycle?
Women with diabetes are highly susceptible to experiencing irregularity in their menstrual cycle due to hormonal imbalances in the body in diabetes. An irregular menstrual cycle is considered a vital sign for the diagnosis of diabetes.
2. What are the Complications of Diabetes in Women?
Complications associated with diabetes in women include:
- Eating disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Nerve damage
- Eye damage
- Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin