Several individual infections are quite common in people with diabetics. Of these some infections are very severe when they occur in diabetic patients and often complications develop rapidly. Vaginal yeast infection is a case in point.
Yeast is a common microorganism found among the normal flora of the human body. It thrives on sugars called glycogen and glucose. When a person has diabetes both these sugars are available in plenty and the yeast reproduces at a furious rate. The diabetes raises the sugar content as well as the pH of the vagina and increases the risk of yeast infection. Uncontrolled blood sugar leads to unchecked growth of Candida leading to vaginal yeast infection. Also, the hyperglycemia brings about a complex biochemical change in the body and the immune function is depressed resulting in various infections. The antioxidant system associated with bactericidal activity is also disrupted. Decreased vaginal lubrication, often a common complaint among diabetic women, may also be one of the factors for increased incidence of vaginal yeast infections. In women with diagnosed diabetes mellitus, the vaginal yeast infection can be controlled with antibiotics and blood sugar controlling drugs. But such patients must refrain from using over-the-counter medications. It is critical that they visit their medical practitioner and follow his advice.
A woman with diabetes and vaginal yeast infection is more susceptible to other infections as well. Combination of high blood sugar and yeast infection is a double whammy, as it further reduces the ability of the body to fight off other pathogens. As the body tries to overcome the infection, the blood sugar levels may become much higher or lower than normal. The fluctuating blood sugar levels are dangerous in diabetic patients. In some women recurring vaginal yeast infections may be the first sign of diabetes. It is advisable to check blood glucose levels first before looking for other causes. One study indicated that diabetic women with vaginal yeast infection responded poorly to single dose of 150 mg of fluconazole therapy. This was probably because in women with diabetes the vaginal yeast infection was caused by Candida glabrata rather than more common Candida albicans.
In summary, in patients with diabetes, a low-grade vaginal yeast infection with frequent recurrences is common and the controlling the blood sugar is as important as treatment with antifungal medications. Intermittent long-term therapy with antifungal medication is often the treatment of choice. But since the Candida infections in diabetics involve multiple factors, a more holistic approach is essential as it is imperative to bring about lifestyle changes, behavioral modifications, detoxify the body, control the Candida and keep blood glucose at optimal levels.