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Diabetes and Yeast Infections

The people with diabetes are susceptible to yeast infections, mainly because they have a weakened immune system. Medical researches are ongoing to understand the relation between the two conditions and the effective measures to combat this health condition. This article provides some information on the same.
Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Yeast infections or candidiasis in medical terms is mostly caused by the fungal genera Candida. Though all the species of this genus have the potential to cause infections, Candida albicans is reported to be the causal organism for maximum cases of candidiasis. The symptoms can be superficial and mild to systemic and life-threatening. Based on the causes and affected body parts, yeast infections are categorized into different types, namely, oral thrush, diaper candidiasis, vaginitis, and systemic candidiasis.
Since people with a weakened immune system are susceptible to these infections, it is often linked with diabetes and other chronic health conditions. According to medical researches, about 15 percent of people with a compromised immune system develop severe candidiasis. Considering this, diabetes along with other serious diseases are also a contributing factor for predisposition to these infection.
Basic Information
In general, Candida albicans inhabits certain parts of the human body without manifestation of any noticeable symptoms. They remain undisturbed as long as the metabolic processes function normally. This is the reason as to why not all people having yeast infestations show signs and symptoms. With the occurrence of a medical condition, such as change in the blood sugar level, the microbial balance of the body is disturbed. The outcome is an abnormal multiplication of yeast population, resulting in the infection. This way, diabetes and yeast infections are correlated with each other.
Women who are affected by diabetes mellitus have higher chances of developing vaginal candidiasis or vaginitis than others. Nevertheless, one of the concerning facts is that about 25-50 percent of healthy women have yeast infestation in the vaginal area. In a healthy woman, the acidic condition in the vaginal area controls the growth and division of yeast. On the contrary, the vaginal secretions of a diabetic women shows higher amount of glucose, which in turn helps in promoting the division of yeast. Over a period of time, the woman with diabetes develops the infection.
Effects of Yeast Infections on Diabetes
Recurrent onsets of these infections even after the treatment may be an indication of diabetes or other serious diseases. As the immune system of a diabetic person is already weakened, the body system cannot fight effectively against these infections. In such a condition, the body system is more prone to other infectious diseases. The combined effect of high glucose level in the bloodstream or hyperglycemia, candidiasis, and a weakened immune system neatly hampers the body's natural defense mechanism to fight against pathogen attacks. Thus, the affected person ends up getting other infections, if the correct diagnosis and treatment is delayed.
An Overview
Similar to any other diseases, early diagnosis of these infections helps in controlling further growth of yeast populations. The physician usually conducts cell sampling from the affected area, after which the cells are observed under a microscope to check the presence of yeast. In order to rule out other health conditions, further laboratory tests may be performed.
While speaking about the treatment options for diabetic people, prescription antifungal medications are usually administered in specific dosages. Self-medication of oral antifungal medicines is strictly not recommended as it may interact with the regular diabetes medications. The concerned physician may prescribe topical ointments for the treatment of superficial candidiasis. It is to be noted that the complete medication course recommended by the physician should be administered. Failure to take complete medicine course may result in recurrent infections.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.