Possible Symptoms of Diabetes in Women

woman with UTI

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  • Diabetes in women can adversely affect the body’s ability to regulate the bacterial load in specific parts of the body, thus promoting infections and other conditions
  • Women are known to be more susceptible to osteoporosis, and diabetes and osteoporosis have been observed to be closely knit, with diabetes heightening the risk of osteoporosis

While diabetes affects both men and women, there are specific symptoms that are only observed in women, mostly having to do with their reproductive system. Diabetes in women can adversely affect the body's ability to regulate the bacterial load in specific parts of the body, thus promoting infections and other conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes Only Seen in Women?

If you're a woman and you're currently at risk for diabetes, these are some of the signs that you have to look out for. While they don't necessarily mean that you have diabetes, suffering from these may indicate insulin resistance, which is one of the indicators of prediabetes:

Sexual function problems — Decreased sex drive in women may occur because of excessive fatigue and tiredness brought on by diabetes. It can also reduce sexual function by altering the body's ability to respond to sexual stimuli.1

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — PCOS refers to the presence of small water-filled cysts in the ovaries, which is commonly caused by hormone imbalance. This condition is closely connected to diabetes as it's known to be caused by insulin resistance.

While the presence of PCOS does not necessarily mean that you have diabetes, it means that you're at a higher risk of being diabetic or prediabetic.2

Vaginal and oral yeast infectionsYeast cells are normally found in the vagina, but are kept in check by the acidic environment that inhibits infections. With the higher concentration of sugar in the area, this can feed yeast cells and cause them to multiply at an increased rate.3

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) — Diabetic women are more prone to urinary tract infections because of the possible presence of sugar in the urine. This functions as an adequate breeding ground for bacteria in the urinary tract, promoting the development of urinary tract infections.4

The Link Between Osteoporosis, Fracture Risk and Diabetes in Women

Women are known to be more susceptible to osteoporosis, and diabetes does not help this at all. Diabetes and osteoporosis have been observed to be closely knit, with diabetes heightening the risk.

In a 2014 study done in Germany, the prevalence of osteoporosis in women with Type 2 diabetes was higher compared to men.5 Diabetes can affect bone density through numerous processes, including the accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the bone matrix. This causes the bones of diabetic patients to weaken and become brittle at a faster pace.

Numerous diabetes medications are also being pinpointed as possible osteoporosis causes, including thiazolidinediones (TZD). TZD drugs have been linked to bone loss and increased fracture risk in women.6

While the presence of both osteoporosis and diabetes is more prevalent in women, this does not mean that men are completely safe from this complication. If you're currently suffering from brittle bones, it's best that you determine whether diabetes may be influencing your poor bone health.

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