Diabetes is a condition that affects 8 out of every 10 people in India. It is the body’s inability to produce or process insulin. When not controlled, diabetes can lead to a plethora of other problems that can have an adverse effect on one’s health in the long run.
One such condition is Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Women with diabetes are twice more likely to contract UTIs than men. UTI is the infection of the urinary system of a person, which includes the bladder, kidney and urethra. In women, it travels up from the vagina and spreads in the tract. It is mainly caused by bacteria.
UTI can cause immense pain and urine incontinence in women. You may feel the need to relieve yourself quite often, but will have trouble emptying your bladder. You may also face a burning sensation when urinating.
Understanding the correlation between Diabetes and recurrent UTIs
Weak Immune System: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means it causes the immune system to attack itself. People with autoimmune diseases have weaker immune systems, making them more prone to infections than a non-diabetic person.
Poor Circulation: Along with this, they also suffer from poor circulation. Poor circulation makes it harder for the white blood cells to travel through the body and fight infections. This, in turn, increases the risk of infections and thus UTI.
Extra sugar in the urine: Another correlation between diabetes (both 1 and 2) and UTI is that in case of diabetics, there is an extra sugar build up in their urine. This high level of glucose in the urine gives rise to bacteria which causes recurrent UTIs.
Autonomic neuropathy: UTIs also occur due to urine build up in the bladder and not emptying it completely. Diabetics suffer from autonomic neuropathy quite often, which is a nerve damage affecting the bladder, intestinal tract and genitals. Autonomic neuropathy makes it harder for the bladder to respond to pressure, hence not being able to empty the bladder completely. Urine in the bladder for long eventually leads to UTIs.
How to prevent UTIs in diabetes
The best thing you can do to prevent UTIs is to control your blood sugar levels. Having your sugar levels under check will reduce the instances of UTIs. Apart from that, maintain good hygiene practices like washing your hands, flushing the toilet before and after use, wiping and keeping your genital area dry and indulging in safe sex only.
With a little precaution, you can reduce your chances of getting UTIs in spite of your diabetes.
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