Carolinas HealthCare System
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Yeast Infections and Diabetes: What You Should Know

Take the Test, Know Your Score!Yeast infections, known medically as Candida albicans, are common among people with diabetes. In fact, these infections may be one of the first signs of diabetes, which can also include fatigue, unexplained weight loss and increased urination.

Yeast loves sugar, and unfortunately, its propensity to find and “eat” sugar is also what causes the infections.

Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels increase the risk of yeast infections, as does a weakened immune system – both of which are common in diabetes.

But while most associate yeast infections with the vagina – and many healthy women experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime – these infections can occur in any warm, moist folds of skin, including under the breasts and between the fingers and toes.

Extra blood sugar in these tissues among people with diabetes can disrupt the normal balance of microorganisms by promoting Candida growth.

Symptoms and Prevention

Yeast infections are equal-opportunity infections of the genitalia in men and women with diabetes, and men suffer many of the same symptoms in and around the penis that women experience in the vaginal area. In both genders, these symptoms include:

  • Soreness or irritation
  • Discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Itching

When a yeast infection occurs in the mouth – another moist, warm area – it’s generally known as oral thrush. Symptoms of this type of yeast infection include a bitter taste; redness or bleeding; creamy white patches in the mouth or on the lips, tongue or throat area; pain and soreness; and cracks at the corners of the lips.

People with diabetes can help prevent yeast infections in any of these areas by taking certain precautions. First and foremost, it’s crucial to keep blood sugar levels under control to prevent not only yeast infections, but also other diabetes complications. Good hygiene in the mouth and genital areas can also lower the risk of yeast infections in those regions.