To understand the connections between Candida yeast infections and diabetes, it is important to know what the condition of diabetes is, and how Candida yeast infections develop and spread.
Diabetes: An Overview
Diabetes is a condition that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to naturally regulate insulin levels through production or proper use. The hormone insulin is required by the body to convert sugars into energy. Deficiencies in the production or use of insulin can lead to high or low blood sugars, both accompanied by unwanted symptoms.
Candida Yeast Infections: An Overview
Yeast infections are caused by a particular fungus, most commonly Candida albicans. The overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans is known as a yeast infection.
Yeast infections can occur in most any place of the body that is warm and moist including the vagina, under the breast, penis, nail beds, and the lower abdomen. There are many circumstances that can lead to an overgrowth of the bacteria. Diabetes is one contributing factor.
Symptoms: Vaginal Candida Yeast Infections
There exist a variety of symptoms during the presence of vaginal yeast infections. Symptoms commonly include burning, itching, and vaginal irritation, the presence of a redness or a rash around the vaginal areas, and the presence of a cottage cheese like vaginal discharge, typically white in color and thick.
Symptoms: Penile Candida Yeast Infections
There are also a variety of symptoms that can be present with penile yeast infections in men. The most common symptoms include discharge from the penis, irritation and soreness located at the head of the penis, temporary rashes, and pain experienced during sexual intercourse. Symptoms are based on the individual, and may not be present in all cases.
The Connections: Diabetes and Candida Yeast Infections
Vaginal yeast infections are more common with individuals that have the condition of diabetes. This is due to the fact that yeast feed on glucose and glycogen. Glucose and glycogen are both sugars. The maintenance of proper sugar levels is typically noted as difficult in diabetic individuals. High sugar levels in the blood causes bodily secretions to contain higher amounts of sugar. This includes vaginal secretions.
If the vaginal environment changes so that more sugar is available (due to high blood sugar levels), Candida can use this to their advantage to flourish, causing a vaginal yeast infection. Some bodily tissues are also not able to properly function with the presence of high blood sugar levels. This includes the normal defense mechanisms that prevent Candida overgrowth.
The common re-occurrence of yeast infections can be a sign of poorly controlled diabetes. However, if you are a diabetic individual that has their blood sugars properly regulated and controlled, the re-occurrence of yeast infections should be noted to a physician, as there may be other underlying causes that require treatment.
Just because you have diabetes, does not mean that you will develop a yeast infection. Being a diabetic only increase your overall risk for development. Proper care and regulation of your blood sugars should decrease overall this risk.
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