Did you know diabetes affects women differently than men? According to medical research, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease by about four times in women and only two times in men. And it doesn’t stop there, women living with diabetes are more likely to experience other health risks too.
Along with managing blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Maria Orellana highlights a few more symptoms women with diabetes need to know about.
Maria Orellana, MD
Doctor of Family Medicine
Yeast and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Blood sugar that spikes creates a perfect environment for the fungus that causes a yeast infection to dwell in. In most cases, people with diabetes also suffer from poor circulation that makes their body susceptible to infection – including UTIs. Some patients even have trouble with their urination patterns, which invites unwelcome bacteria into sensitive areas.
The good news is that both infections should only be minor irritations, anticipating that appropriate treatment is sought out. If you’re a female with diabetes, talk to your gynecologist about symptoms of both feminine infections that you should know to keep an eye out for.
Menstrual Cycle Irregularities
As if you needed more to worry about in the period department. When women menstruate, our hormones are often in flux – there’s science behind those PMS symptoms and chocolate cravings. Insulin is a hormone too, and doctors believe that some women with diabetes become even more resistant to insulin at certain parts of their monthly cycles.
To top it off, those hormone changes that make us crave simple sugars and want to curl up in bed instead of hitting the gym? That’s not exactly ideal for someone with diabetes, who we tell to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise regime to stay healthy.
Women with type 1 diabetes in particular are shown to have shorter reproductive cycles than women without diabetes – meaning their first period will be later, and menopause will occur earlier.
Diabetes and pregnancy
Gestational diabetes is when diabetes develops during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Tests for this condition are a part of most routine pregnancy check-ups at your physician’s office.
Diabetes in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for C-section and high blood pressure for mom-to-be. For the baby, there is a chance of growing larger than average, early delivery, low blood sugar, or respiratory distress at birth. Keeping blood glucose levels within the range specified by your doctor is the best way to avoid any possible complications.
Fortunately, many cases of gestational diabetes resolve after delivering the baby. Unfortunately, having had gestational diabetes puts the mother at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Continued screening for type 2 diabetes is the key to catching blood sugar abnormalities early.
Don’t Be Afraid, Talk to a Doctor
Above all else, disease management is the most important aspect of living with diabetes. Trust your instincts enough to identify when something just doesn’t feel right, and let our expert team at Sisters Health Center at D’Youville help. We will discuss these changes with you and determine the best way for you to manage your condition.
Receive treatment for diabetes at your neighborhood health center. Call (716) 862-2572 for an appointment.