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Diabetes and Recurring Candida

Yeast infections are a common infection and most women will experience at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. Unfortunately, women with diabetes are especially vulnerable to unhealthy increases in Candida, or yeast cells. In normal, healthy women, Candida living in the vagina is kept in balance and constant control by the acidic nature of the vagina. Women with diabetes have vaginal secretions that tend to have more glucose in them because their glucose levels are generally higher. Normal Candida cells can nourish themselves with extra glucose, which in turn causes their growth and proliferation, eventually leading them to overgrow the vagina.

The problem of women with diabetes experience with Candida is exacerbated by the fact that their high glucose levels also interfere with immune function that helps prevent yeast infections. In other words, when Candida begins to multiply, diabetes women are less likely to have the source of the immune system to fight growth and infection. Often, frequent yeast infections in women with diabetes serve as a sign that they do not properly control their blood glucose levels. The presence of yeast in the vagina can also have the added risk of being imposed strictly on women with diabetes. For example, due to the combination of yeast and high blood sugar, when a woman with diabetes has yeast infection, she is more likely to get other infections as well. As known by diabetes patients, infections in people with diabetes pose an additional risk as blood sugar becomes more irregular while the body tries to fight infection.

Women with diabetes should be aware of the possibility of excessive Candida growth and symptoms of yeast infection. Yeast infections often cause itching in the vagina, in addition to white secretions with unpleasant odors that resemble cottage cheese. Severe pain or urination or sexual intercourse can also be a sign of yeast infection. Unless they are very smart, some women with diabetes may not be aware of having regular yeast infections. It is important to address any changes in the skin as yeast infections can occur elsewhere (including moist areas around the feet, skin folds or inside the mouth). Women with diabetes not only are at increased risk for Candida and yeast infections, but also for the more serious infections that cause them.

If you are a woman with diabetes and are not sure if you have symptoms of yeast infection, your doctor may determine if the infection is actually caused by an increase in Candida or if it is from another source. Samples will be collected and sent to the laboratory, where technicians will use a microscope to view cell samples to confirm whether they contain high levels of Candida. These tests are usually conclusive, but sometimes other laboratory tests are needed to confirm the yeast infection.

If a yeast infection diagnosis is confirmed, women should ask their doctor for treatment and prescription options. If you have never been diagnosed with diabetes and have four or more yeast infections a year, ask your doctor for diabetes.


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