Diabetes in Women

Kaila Flemming
November 14, 2022
(5 mins read)
Women's health

Diabetes is a disease is characterized by irregularities in the body’s glucose levels due to problems with insulin. Each year 1.4 million new diabetes cases are diagnosed in the United States, indicating that it is a disease that affects a widespread population. It can lead to serious problems including heart attack, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. Both men and women are almost affected equally in terms of numbers, however it affects women differently.

Firstly, women are at high risk for serious complications such as blindness, kidney disease, and depression. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease but does this four times more in women, while only two times in men. Women also tend to have worse outcomes following a heart attack caused by diabetes. Urinary tract infections are another effect of diabetes that women are more susceptible to.

Not only is diabetes different for women, but it’s also different among women—African American, Latina, American Indian, and Pacific Islander women are more likely to have diabetes than white women.

Some symptoms are specific to women. This includes:

  1. Candida Infections
  2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  3. Vaginal Dryness
  4. Difference of sensation in the vagina.

Symptoms Explained

Candida Infections are common because high blood sugar levels  can cause the growth of fungus. the overgrowth of yeast cause by the fungus candida results in yeast infections.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is also associated with insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels causes there to be a correlation between the two.

Vaginal dryness and change in vaginal sensation is due to the phenomenon known as Diabetic Neuropathy. This happens when blood sugar levels damage nerve fibers. This can affect sensation in the vagina which can eventually give rise to vaginal dryness.

Did you know?

Two types of diabetes affect both men and women. These are type 1, due to autoimmune dysfunction that results in the body not being able to make enough insulin; and type 2 diabetes which is when your body is unable to use insulin properly. But, there is a third type of diabetes that affects only pregnant women, gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is caused when people begin to have high blood sugar during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects almost 10% of pregnancies in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). This typically goes away soon after delivery, but when it does not go away it can turn into type 2 diabetes. Even if diabetes does go away after the baby is born, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. it is important that after a woman has had gestational diabetes they follow up with their doctor on their blood sugar and consult them on the lifestyle changes that need to be made to ensure that they remain in good health.

Like many diseases, diabetes is one that disproportionately affects women. This does not mean that women should be scared, but instead take the time to educate themselves and ensure that they are getting the medical help necessary for all of their concerns.