Yeast Infections and Diabetes

People with diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled are at higher risk of developing infections because the body is less able to defend itself against germs. These includes yeast and fungal infections.

Causes

In addition to diabetes, you could be more susceptible to these kinds of infection if:

  • You take oral contraceptives
  • You are pregnant
  • You take antibiotics
  • You have a new sexual partner
  • You have sex more than once a day

Symptoms for women

  • Itchiness in the external genitals
  • More abundant, thicker, yellowish-white vaginal discharge
  • Pain while urinating and during sex
  • Redness of the vulva

Symptoms for men

  • Redness on the end of the penis
  • Itchiness of the genitals
  • Red patches on the head of the penis (glans)

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor or talk to your pharmacist. If a medication is prescribed, be sure to take it to the end of the treatment period even if the symptoms disappear earlier.

Prevention

As for all types of infection in person with diabetes, it is crucial to properly control your blood glucose (sugar) levels.

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Wash your genitals every day and dry the genital area thoroughly after swimming, showering or bathing.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker.

Treatment

There are effective non-prescription treatments for yeast infections, in the form of tablets and creams.

In addition to taking these medications, improving your blood sugar control is essential for ridding yourself of this kind of infection.

It is important to follow the treatment to the end even if the symptoms disappear earlier. During treatment, wear natural fibres, avoid vaginal douching and use condoms during sex.

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

Scientific review: Serge Goulet, Family Physician

April 2014