If you think the signs and symptoms of diabetes are the same for both men and women, you’re partially right and partially wrong. While men and women share some similarities, the signs of diabetes in women can and do differ from those in men. It’s important for women to understand all the signs of diabetes, because they may be the key to early detection and treatment.
First, let’s discuss some of the signs of diabetes common in both men and women. These include increased thirst and hunger, weight loss or gain, fatigue, increased urination, slow healing of wounds, nausea and/or vomiting, blurry vision, sweet-smelling breath, poor circulation, irritability, and sometimes skin infections or skin irritation.
The signs of diabetes in women include all of the above as well as urinary infections, polycystic ovary syndrome, female sexual dysfunction, and vaginal and oral yeast infections. These unique signs of diabetes are often the ones that cause women to seek help.
The Unique Differences Defined
Thrush and other yeast infections are common signs of diabetes in women. This occurs with diabetes because the high blood sugar levels found in the body push glucose into the urine. The glucose helps form a habitable environment for yeast to grow, as is the case with vaginal thrush.
If you think you have a vaginal yeast infection, check your symptoms. Thrush and similar infections cause soreness and itching in the vaginal area, a white discharge and a curd-like discharge on the skin, painful intercourse, and red skin in the affected area. Similar symptoms can also occur with oral yeast infections.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Female sexual dysfunction, also known as FSD, affects your sexual activity. It causes a lack of sexual desire, painful intercourse, and difficulty with arousal and climax. This is mainly because the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes tend to cause poor circulation and nerve damage. These, in turn, negatively influence your sexual sensations and your body’s natural lubrication.
PCOS & Gestational Diabetes
Polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes are both reproduction issues that can occur in women due to high blood sugar. Polycystic ovary syndrome, usually referred to as PCOS, is when a woman’s ovaries are prone to an increased occurrence of cysts.
While ovarian cysts aren’t considered abnormal, a woman suffering from PCOS will have an above-average amount of cysts or an increased rate of them. These cysts are basically follicles with eggs in them that are under-developed.
This phenomenon is usually linked to overweight women and those with type 2 diabetes. PCOS, however, can also be present in a woman even if she doesn’t have diabetes.
Gestational diabetes, on the other hand, is a female issue that occurs only during pregnancy. A woman with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes will have an increased chance of gestational diabetes, but there doesn’t need to be a previous diagnosis of either form of diabetes in order for a woman to experience it. Nowadays, gestational diabetes is actually quite common.
This mainly occurs because a woman’s hormones sometimes interfere with insulin use and production which can hinder the body’s response to sugars. If the insulin is being blocked by the altered hormones in a woman’s body, gestational diabetes occurs.
Since blood glucose, as well as ketones, are transferred from mother to child via the placenta, these higher sugar levels can have a negative effect on the fetus and can lead to birth defects.
Unlike type 1 or type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes tends to go away after pregnancy. However, the risk for type 2 diabetes increases.
If you experience any of these unique signs of diabetes in women, be sure to follow up with a medical professional for proper treatment and management.