Vaginal Yeast Infections & Diabetes: What’s The Connection?

 Symptoms

The most common symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is extreme itchiness in and around the vagina. “You may also experience an unusual discharge, and pain during urination or intercourse,” says Hughes. You may have only a few of these symptoms, and they can range from mild to severe.

Vaginal yeast infections are easy to treat. Hughes says “For most, treating a vaginal yeast infection may only take a few days to resolve. However, some may take up to two weeks to clear.” Symptoms of yeast infection are similar to other vaginal infections and STIs. If you have a more serious infection and it’s not a yeast infection, it can lead to significant health problems. Seeing your doctor or nurse is the only way to know for sure if you have a yeast infection and not a more serious type of infection.

Prevention

Once a yeast infection has been treated, the following steps can help prevent future infections:

  • If you have diabetes, be sure your blood sugar is under control. Hughes says “Maintaining blood sugar levels is important for any person living with diabetes to prevent both short-term and long-term complications associated with diabetes. A yeast infection is an example of one common complication of uncontrolled diabetes.”
  • Wear underwear made of cotton or other breathable fabrics. Avoid tight-fitting pants.
  • Avoid scented soaps, douches, and scented tampons and pads. These products can alter vaginal acidity level, upsetting the natural balance of yeast and bacteria.
  • Be sure to dry well after bathing, and keep genitals and skin folds clean and dry throughout the day.
  • Eat yogurt, or try probiotic supplements.

Vaginal yeast infections are a common female condition that 3 out of 4 women will experience at one point in their lifetime. Uncontrolled diabetes changes the vaginal environment, weakens the immune system and increases the risk for vaginal yeast infection.

 

Constance Brown-RiggsConstance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, national speaker and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes. She is a Dannon One Yogurt Every Day Nutrition Advisor.