Diabetes is a series of metabolic illnesses which cause a person to develop a high blood sugar because of an inability to process or produce insulin. Anyone can suffer from diabetes regardless of their age, gender, race or weight.
There are a few common symptoms of diabetes that both men and women experience:
- Heightened feelings of thirst and hunger
- Frequent peeing
- Losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason
- Increased tiredness and fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Delayed healing of wounds
- Skin infections
- Darker skin around creased areas of the body such as neck, underarms and elbows
- Irritable mood
- Sweet or fruity smelling breath
- Losing feeling in the hands and feet
Diabetes is much harder to detect and diagnose in women. They are also subjected to a less aggressive treatment related to cardiovascular risk factors and other conditions related to diabetes. This is because women develop heart diseases which are different from men. Moreover, their hormones and inflammation acts and reacts differently to changes in the body. Although, the death rate among diabetic women is now lower than before, almost 13.4 million women in the United States are living with the illness and many more remain undiagnosed.
Symptoms in Women
For women with diabetes many of the symptoms are the same as those for men however, there are signs of the disease which are unique only to women. Understanding these signs and symptoms will help women identify diabetes early on and seek treatment before it progresses. Some of the symptoms exclusive to females are listed below.
Vaginal/Oral Yeast Infection and Vaginal Thrush
An increased growth in yeast which is caused by a fungus can develop a vaginal or oral yeast infection or the vaginal thrust. These infections are highly common in women. The infection affects the vaginal area and causes vaginal discharge, soreness, itching and painful sex. Oral yeast infections result in a coating on the tongue and insides of the mouth which has a cottage-cheese like consistency. The high levels of blood sugar trigger fungus growth.
Women with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection. UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract. These infections are accompanied by a painful, burning sensation while urinating and cloudy or bloody urine. If treatment for the UTI is not sought, the kidney could get infected. Because females with diabetes have poor blood circulation, the white blood cells are unable to fight off UTIs.
High blood sugar could damage nerve fibers and cause diabetic neuropathy. This causes a loss of feeling in different parts of the body such as hands, legs and feet. It also affects sensations in the vaginal area and lowers the woman’s desire for sex.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome are at higher risk of diabetes due to the increased blood sugar levels. The disorder is due to an overproduction of male hormones in the adrenal glands. PCOS causes weight gain, irregular periods, acne and depression. It can also increase infertility and insulin resistance.