Yeasts are organisms that naturally live in our bodies. They are found in the skin under the mucous membrane and they help in keeping the nearby bacteria in check. But when there is a build-up of yeast and they begin to grow, it can cause a yeast infection.

Yeasts thrive in the below warm, moist areas:

  • Genitals
  • Mouth
  • Beneath the breasts
  • Under the fold of skin

Vaginal infections are the most common form of yeast infection.

Link between Diabetes and yeast infection

Yeast essentially feed on sugar. When the blood sugar level is high, extra sugar may be secreted in the mucous, urine and sweat. Elevated sugar levels invite yeast infections. Extra glycogen in the vaginal area can lead to a decrease in pH, which aids yeast growth. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has provided evidence for this, using female diabetic rats.

Apart from this, poorly controlled diabetes also affects the immune system. Some studies reveal that hypoglycemia can suppress immune proteins. These proteins are called beta-defensins, and they help immune cells move towards infections and kill microbes. Since immune proteins are blocked in a diabetes patient, it makes it even harder for them to fight off a yeast infection.

Yeast have a tendency to colonize themselves at unhealthy levels when there is presence of sugar. If a diabetes patient’s sugar levels are high, yeasts cling to the skin and mucous glands. Additionally, once an infection is colonized, it is easier for it to reoccur.

Symptoms of a yeast infection:

  • Infection on skin may cause rash, itching and discoloration
  • Genital infection in men may result in an itchy penis
  • A vaginal yeast infection may result in itching, pain and a burning sensation while passing urine. It can also cause a cottage cheese like discharge and unpleasant odor.

It is important for a diabetes patient to make sure their sugar levels are always in control. Eating the right food, avoiding sweets and exercising regularly are all factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Apart from that, regular check-ups with your doctor and monitoring your blood sugar levels at home can help you keep a tab on your sugar levels. It is important to remember that prevention is always better than cure. But in case a yeast infection does occur, it is suggested to not self-diagnose but to seek a doctor’s advice immediately. With oral and topical medication, and the right lifestyle changes, a yeast infection can be taken care of.

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