Diabetes & Women: the female side of diabetes

Why is there a separate article about diabetes for women? You ask. Well, for the fairer sex, it’s been discovered that diabetes is not necessarily indiscriminate. While there are many symptoms which are shared between both genders, women have additional problems to deal with.

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Symptoms experienced by men and women:

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Symptoms unique to women include:

  • Vaginal and oral yeast infections and vaginal thrush
  • Urinary infections
  • Female sexual dysfunction
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that many people with type-2 diabetes have no noticeable symptoms.

The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only, and should not be a substitute for consulting an actual medical professional. Should you have further questions, please seek the proper authority.

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Pregnancy and Diabetes

If you have diabetes and are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, it’s vitally important to talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage your and your baby’s health. Your blood sugar levels and general health need to be tracked before and during your pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, blood sugar and ketones travel through the placenta to the baby. Babies require energy from glucose just as you do. HOWEVER, babies are at risk for birth defects if your blood sugar levels are too high. That’s one of the main reasons why doctors don’t recommend pregnant women drink alcohol.

 In approximately 9.2% of pregnancies, gestational diabetes occurs. Due to how the hormones of pregnancy interfere with the way insulin works, the body compensates by making more of it. For some women, this still isn’t enough insulin, and they develop gestational diabetes. In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, your risk for type-2 diabetes is increased.

Risk Factors in Women

You are more at risk for type-2 diabetes if you:

  • are older than 45
  • are overweight or obese
  • have a family history of diabetes (parent or sibling)
  • are of Asian descent
  • have had a baby with a birth weight more than 9 pounds
  • have had gestational diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • exercise less than 3 times a week
  • have other health conditions that are linked to problems using insulin, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • have a history of heart disease or stroke

Additionally, at all stages of life, women’s bodies present obstacles for managing diabetes and blood sugar. These are some of the common challenges:

  • The fluctuating hormones associated with the menstrual cycle, childbearing, and menopause make it more difficult to maintain proper blood sugar levels.
  • Some birth control pills can increase blood sugar.
  • Glucose in the body can cause yeast infections.

Diabetes is a long-term condition which still has no cure to this day. Life is already much tougher for women, with all their biological attributes. Taking note of the unique situations where diabetes can pop up for women, diabetes can be kept at bay if you are well-informed and abide by healthy lifestyle choices. Please refer to our previous articles that address how to generally plan meals according to dietary requirements.