Type 2 Diabetes and Women
Special concerns if you’re a woman with type 2 diabetes.
“Certain types of infections can happen to anyone, men or women, but they tend to happen more frequently among women with type 2 diabetes,” Jay says. That’s because higher blood sugar means more food for bacteria and yeast to grow, she says.
Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria grow more readily in the lining of the bladder. Higher blood sugar levels in the urethra and bladder make women with diabetes more prone to these infections. Urinary tract infections can usually be treated with antibiotics your doctor prescribes.
Vaginal yeast infections may also accompany type 2 diabetes. The yeast called Candida, live all over our bodies and especially thrive in warm, moist areas. An infection results when there is too much yeast in one area.
Yeast infections can occur in other parts of the body more often where skin folds exist, such as under the armpits or beneath the breasts. Men and women with diabetes can be prone to higher rates of these infections.
“Developing a yeast infection from diabetes means your blood sugar is way out of control,” says endocrinologist Robin Goland, MD, of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor to treat the infection and to better manage your diabetes.
The first line of defense against type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, according to the American Diabetic Association. That can mean any activity that gets your heart rate up and causes you to sweat a little - even if it’s gardening, walking, or cleaning your house.
Coping with stress can also help tame your blood sugar.
Your doctor can help you change your diet, make healthy food choices, control portions, and more.
Choose high-fiber foods. The fiber helps keep your blood sugar level on an even keel.
Also, swap white starchy foods for whole grains, put lots of vegetables in your diet, and go easy on sweetened beverages, including fruit juice.
If diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes are not enough to control your diabetes, your doctor can prescribe oral or injected treatments to treat the condition.
But even if you have a prescription, you still need to take those lifestyle steps. They can curb, or even end, the need for diabetes drugs for some people.
It's all about being good to yourself. Managing type 2 diabetes means taking care of yourself, no matter what.
“Diabetes requires self-care to do it well,” Goland says. “While many women are comfortable at taking care of others, it can be hard for them to take care of themselves,” she says.
Goland suggests involving a team of professionals to help you manage your diabetes - including your primary care doctor, nutritionist, and diabetes specialists.
Get your family on board, too. They can support you and learn healthy habits for themselves -- and that's a win for everyone.