Women and Diabetes

Women with diabetes sometimes have different needs from men with the same medical condition. This is especially true if you:

  • are pregnant, 
  • are planning a pregnancy, or 
  • develop diabetes during your pregnancy.

The diabetes management program provides educational classes and services for women with diabetes, including:

  • Healthy nutrition
  • Blood glucose control
  • Acceptable weight gain
  • Home monitoring, including glucose and ketone testing
  • Strategies for a healthy pregnancy

Are There Diabetes Symptoms That Only Women Experience?

For the most part, diabetes doesn’t discriminate between men and women. It is a common disorder in both sexes, with a number of similar symptoms, including excessive thirst and hunger, fatigue, irritability, slow-to-heal wounds, blurred vision, weight fluctuations, and frequent trips to the bathroom.

However, there are certain diabetic symptoms that are unique to women. These include vaginal itching and pain, vaginal discharge, painful sexual intercourse, and oral yeast infections (also called oral thrush). Symptoms of the latter include:

  • White patches in the mouth
  • Redness and soreness
  • Trouble swallowing and eating
  • Swollen gums and inner cheeks

Diabetes and Pregnancy

You can enjoy a healthy pregnancy even with diabetes, whether it is Type 1, Type 2, or gestational. The key is controlling blood glucose levels before and during your pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is situational – it occurs in women during their pregnancy. It affects only a small percentage of pregnant women, typically at the end of the second trimester. You risk birthing complications or a newborn with health problems, if your gestational diabetes goes untreated. 

The diabetes management program offers individualized classes on gestational diabetes. The class focuses on controlling blood sugar levels during pregnancy, as well as what to expect from your condition during this period. 

Does Menopause Affect Diabetes?

Women with diabetes can find their medical risk factors magnified during menopause. These include:

  • Greater variation in blood sugar levels
  • Weight gain
  • Increased chance of vagina and urinary tract infections
  • Sleep problems
  • Sexual issues related to vaginal dryness and nerve damage

Dealing with the double condition of diabetes and menopause makes your healthy lifestyle choices all the more important. You might also ask your physician to consider adjustments in any diabetes medications that you are taking.