The information regarding the signs of diabetes in women, (2) which may also be referred to as symptoms is extensive and if at all possible those affected need to know the information to help themselves achieve optimal health. As in other serious diseases, diabetes affects men and women equally. There are some basic differences though in how diabetes manifests itself in women.
Table of Contents
- 1 Let us start with common signs of diabetes in women:
- 2 Signs of Diabetes in Women
Let us start with common signs of diabetes in women:
- decreased sensation or feeling in your hands or feet (3)
- areas of your body where the skin creases may become dark and patchy
- increased irritability
- urinating more frequently
- feeling fatigued
- blurry vision
- wounds that heal slowly
- skin that becomes infected
- increased thirst and hunger
- weight gain or loss that has no obvious cause
- breath that has a sweet, fruity, or acetone odor
Here are the signs of diabetes in women that they need to look for so that they can identify, prevent and treat the disease (1):
- female sexual dysfunction
- oral and vaginal yeast infections and vaginal thrush
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- urinary infections
Later in this article we will address these specific signs of diabetes in women in depth. First we will need to look at the types of diabetes which are generally agreed to be Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In women there is also a special type of diabetes known as “gestational diabetes” which is Type 2 diabetes that develops during pregnancy and can affect women in pregnancy.
Type 2 Diabetes has a precursor condition call pre-diabetes, this is a condition where the blood glucose levels can be high but not as high as the levels for type 2 diabetes. (4) The test for pre-diabetes is the same type of blood tests and blood glucose test as for type 2 diabetes. The difference is that w
hen you are pre-diabetic you can slow the onset of diabetes. You can benefit from simple steps such as losing 10 to 15 pounds and participating in daily physical activity.
The Diabetes Prevention Program Study published in 2002, found that lifestyle changes, including increased physical activity and moderate weight loss reduced the chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent over three years in overweight people with pre-diabetes 1.
The Type of Diabetes you have ultimately affects the treatment you pursue to maintain health.
Type 1 diabetes usually has an early onset in childhood and requires lifelong insulin treatment. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes seen as late onset and precipitated by conditions that may be largely preventable such as those encompassed in a healthy lifestyle such as healthy food choices, sleep, exercise, and overall mental health. In type 2 diabetes woman should be diagnosed early to prevent any further health problems.
Signs of Diabetes in Women
It is important to realize that these early warning signs become symptoms and they will increase over the course of the disease and require treatment. (7)
Female Sexual Dysfunction:
In women the nerve supply and tissue supplying blood and oxygen to the genital organs is affected by diabetes. The main symptom reported is decreased or less lubrication of the vagina which inhibits pleasurable sexual activity. Reduced lubrication and lack of sensation leading to painful sexual experiences can lead to the avoidance of sexual intimacy. (6)
Women with Type II diabetes have been found to have a decreased sex drive and will be less satisfied sexually in their relationships. Though lubrication of the vagina can help there is still the need for steps to be taken to better manage other diabetic symptoms such as decreased sensation in nerves and blood supply to the sexual organs, which can increase over time.
Vaginal and Oral Yeast Infections and Thrush:
These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable. Signs of vaginal thrush or a yeast infection include itching, redness, swelling of the vagina and surrounding tissues a white and thick or clear discharge from the vagina. Women can experience painful intercourse or a burning sensation when they are urinating.
Yeast infections do not harm the vagina nor can it spread to or harm your fetus during gestation. Women seek treatment for these conditions because they can be uncomfortable and painful. Yeast infections (of the mouth) are caused by similar conditions and are treated with similar medications.
The production of many small cysts on the ovaries of women is called “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome” or “PCOS”. Though no one knows the exact cause of polycystic ovaries it is believed to be hereditary and is associated with decreased blood glucose levels and imbalances in hormone levels In addition and because polycystic ovaries affect insulin levels it is also a syndrome that must be addressed in women with Type I and Type 2 diabetes.
The ability to ward off and fight infection decreases with diabetes. In addition diabetes slows the autoimmune system and our disease fighting antibodies production is slower in those with diabetes. As a result women with diabetes are more prone to urinary tract infection.
Screening women to identify diabetes has not reducing the overall risk for diabetes nor the prevalence of the symptoms. Still these symptoms must be treated because urinary infections can lead to more serious complications and diseases such as bladder problems and kidney disease.
In conclusion the signs of diabetes in women are extensive. The more knowledgeable you are about the symptoms of diabetes, and your overall risks, the easier it will be to achieve an earlier diagnosis and ideally prevention of type ii diabetes. (5) Also knowing the signs of pre-diabetes we can make the necessary lifestyle changes to stay healthy. Women must know the information to help them achieve optimal health and well-being.