Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections

To avoid urinary tract infections, consult your doctor if symptoms occur.

People whose diabetes is not properly controlled have twice the risk of developing infections.

In addition to diabetes, you could be more susceptible to urinary tract infections if:

  • Your blood glucose (sugar) levels are not properly controlled.
  • Sugar in the urine promotes bacterial growth.
  • Your nervous system is already affected by diabetes (neuropathy).
  • You could have a “lazy bladder” that does not empty completely.
  • You are a woman.
  • Certain anatomical traits, such as having a shorter urethra, increase the risk of bacterial contamination.
  • You already have diabetes complications in your kidneys or blood vessels.
  • This could be a sign that your diabetes is not properly controlled.
  • You have had a urinary tract infection within the last year.
  • People who have had infections within the last year are more at risk of a recurrence.

When to consult?

To avoid urinary tract infections, consult your doctor if one or more of these symptoms occur:

  •  Fever
  • More frequent urination
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Urine has an unpleasant odour
  • False urge to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal pain when urinating


As is the case for all types of infections if you have diabetes, it is crucial that you maintain your blood glucose (sugar) levels within the target range.

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Do not ignore the urge to urinate.
  • Be sure to stay well hydrated.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker. 

What about cranberry juice?

Although studies on cranberry juice seem promising, none has clearly shown that cranberry juice can be used to treat or prevent urinary tract infections. If you nevertheless decide to drink cranberry juice, be aware of the amount of sugar in the juice or cocktail, especially if you are diabetic.


Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Scientific review: Serge Goulet, Family Physician

April 2014