Can diabetes cause yeast infections? Does it increase the risks of recurring vaginal yeast infections? What should you do to prevent them? And how do you treat the yeast infection caused by diabetes?
If any of these are questions you have been battling with, you will find the answers here. Any questions about the relationship between diabetes and yeast (vaginal, oral and any other) infections will also be dealt with. Here are the 15 things that you should know about cases of yeast infections with diabetes
1. Yes, diabetes can cause vaginal yeast infections
People who are diabetic experience spikes in blood sugar. Sugar is a favorite food of different types of yeast. This includes candida. Mix the two together and you have a yeast overgrowth. And since vaginal yeast infection is said to have occurred when there is an overgrowth of yeast, this makes diabetes one of those conditions that increase the risks of a candida yeast infections -- oral, vaginal and any other.
2. A 2014 study found a link between risks of yeast infections and type 2 diabetes
This study had some interesting findings.
The first was that diabetic women were more prone to candida yeast infections as opposed to non-diabetic women (18.8% vs. 11.8%).
The second finding was that women with diabetes had a higher risk of displaying yeast infection symptoms when compared to those who didn't have diabetes.
The third finding was that when using fluconazole ( a vaginal yeast infection treatment), the diabetic group had a lower cure rate (75%, although this is still good) than those who didn’t have diabetes (86.7%).
3. A 2013 study found a significant link between type 1 diabetes and vaginal yeast infections
4. The Best way to treat it is start by controlling blood sugar levels
According to Heathline, since high blood sugar levels encourage yeast infections, the best way treat the yeast infection is to take away the thing that is feeding it -- high blood sugar. Better management of diabetes is therefore a must if you want to keep yeast infections at bay. Treatment will also be easier as whichever medication you will be using will be fighting against a yeast-starved fungi ( candida, the yeast that causes most cases of vaginal yeast infections is a fungus).
5. Recurrent yeast infections common in people with diabetes
Do you have a yeast infection that keeps coming back? If your infection simply won’t go away, your diabetes might be to blame. It all has to do with the environment that your body creates.
A healthy vagina can have yeast cells without causing any problems. This is for as long as there is a healthy balance within the vagina and the yeast population is properly controlled -- different types of bacteria and other organisms that exist in the vagina do this. An infection only arises when there is an overgrowth.
With diabetes causing sugar-spikes, it creates an environment in which yeast cells can thrive. Therefore, even if you treat it, there is a high risk of recurrence because your body will be a food-haven for yeast.
6. Candida glabrata is the fungi most common in women with diabetes who have vaginal yeast infections
According to Mayo Clinic / WebMD, candida albicans is the type of fungi that is responsible for most vaginal candida yeast infections. It is estimated that over 95% of these infections are caused by this type of candida. However, it seems that this is not the case among women who have diabetes.
According to a 2007 study, candida glabrata, a fungus, was responsible for more than half of the women with vaginal yeast infections.
7. Long course of suppository medication most effective if you have yeast infections with diabetes
The same 2007 study found that in women with diabetes, long suppository medications worked best. This has to do with the fact that the particular type of species of candida that causes the yeast responds well to this medication. This, in addition to the fact that the pre-existing yeast-friendly environment that diabetes creates, makes this type of treatment your best bet as far as clearing a vaginal yeast infection is concerned.
8. Topical yeast infection treatments can be used
Vaginal yeast infections are treated with various types of topical treatments. This includes ointments for yeast infections and creams for yeast infections.
This is a treatment option that exists in women with diabetes. That is for as long as the infections is either mid or moderate. With serious or recurrent infections, this will not an effective treatment option.
If you have either a mild or moderate vaginal yeast infection, the following are some of the topical treatment medications that may work. All of them are prescription and over-the-counter medications that have proven effective as far as getting rid of yeast infections is concerned:
- Monistat (miconazole)
- Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
- Terazol (terconazole)
- Gynazole-1 (butoconazole)
These treatments tend to take up to 7 days.
9. Oral medication for yeast infections can also work
10. Condom-use during sex may be recommended
If you have had unprotected sex with your partner, there is a risk that you have passed on the yeast to them. According to the CDC, 15% of men start experiencing symptoms like itching after having sex with a woman who has a vaginal yeast infection.
If you have unprotected sex with the same partner, the chances of yeast cells being transmitted to your body are high. And since your diabetes makes it easy for the candida yeast cells to thrive in your body, experiencing an overgrowth is almost inevitable. You will therefore be susceptible to experiencing recurrent vaginal yeast infection attacks.
Using a condom during sex, will help minimize the risks of having a yeast infection that simply won’t go away.
11. Avoiding some habits can reduce the risks of recurrence
With diabetes, your chances of getting a yeast infection are already high. Some habits will just make things worse. The will double your susceptibility to attacks, something that will make it harder to prevent and get rid of candida vaginal yeast infections.
The following are some of the things that you should avoid if you want to increase your odds of staying candida-free:
- using scented tampons and menstrual pads
- vagina sprays and douching
- hot tubs and hot baths
- tight-fitting clothing and underwear
- Non-cotton underwear that makes it holds moisture and makes it hard for your skin to breathe
12. Avoiding some medications will improve your chances of recovery
When treating a yeast infection, it is best to stay away from things that will negate the effect of the medication. Sometimes, this means having to avoid some medications -- make sure you consult your doctor.
Antibiotics are known to encourage vaginal yeast infections. This is because when ridding the body of harmful bacteria, they also kill useful ones. Some of these useful bacteria play a significant role in keeping yeast growth in control. Not having them on your side when fighting off an infection will make recovery harder. If you can avoid antibiotics, please do.
13. Avoiding some foods will improve your chances of recovery from diabetes with yeast infections
Any food that causes a spike in your blood sugar level is bad for you. It will make your condition worse.
Dr. Mercola, the New York Times bestselling author of The No Grain Diet, Effortless Healing and The Great Bird Flu Hoax recommends that you stay away from the following foods:
- corn and peanuts
- high-sugar fruits
- Potatoes, carrots and beets
14. Some foods make it easier to recover from yeast infections with diabetes
A healthy diet is key when on treatment. This is because it helps boost the immune system, something that then provides the body with a defense system that is strong-enough to fight off infections.
When it comes to having diabetes with yeast infections, blood sugar control is key. Some foods are great at preventing sudden blood sugar spikes. Taking these foods will therefore help prevent candida yeast overgrowth, something that will make both prevention and treatment easier.
Probiotics have also been touted by most leading medical publications as effective when it comes to fighting off yeast infections. This is because they encourage the growth of healthy bacteria. Some of the bacteria they help grow are useful in controlling yeast infections.
15. Diabetes is not the only condition that encourages yeast infections
Diabetes isn’t the only condition that encourages yeast growth. Just like diabetes, HIV also encourages candida overgrowth. This is mainly because it destroys the body’s immune system. This makes it hard to maintain a healthy body balance. It also makes it difficult to fight off infections. Any disease or infection that necessitates using antibiotics can also lead to a vaginal yeast infection. With the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy, pregnant women also have an increased risk of developing candida infections.