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The Link Between Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections

The Link Between Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections

Living well with diabetes means knowing how it impacts different aspects of your health so that you can make the right lifestyle adjustments and form a strong partnership with a health care provider.

Board-certified OB/GYN Kiran Patel, MD, women’s health specialist Leela Patel, MD, and our clinical team strive to provide the highest quality of care. If you have diabetes, you must pay special attention to your diet and lifestyle to ensure that you’re keeping your mind and body as healthy and strong as possible. 

People with diabetes are more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Here’s what you need to know to manage them. 

Diabetes raises health risks

Diabetes causes abnormally high blood sugar, which puts you at risk for certain health complications. Glucose enters the bloodstream after your body breaks down food. The cells in your body require glucose for energy, but glucose cannot enter the cells without insulin.

When you have diabetes, your body fails to make or use insulin properly, causing glucose to stay elevated in the blood. While your body relies on glucose as its main fuel source, too much of it damages the body.

Because of this. diabetes increases the risk of nerve damage, heart disease, high blood pressure, and UTIs to name a few. 

Diabetes and your urinary tract

Diabetes-related UTIs can affect the urethra, bladder, or kidneys. UTIs in people with Type 2 diabetes are often more severe, so it’s crucial to see a doctor right away if you have symptoms of a UTI, which includes:

Additional symptoms, such as nausea, back or side pain, and fever, may occur if the infection has moved to the kidneys.

UTIs associated with diabetes may be caused by autonomic neuropathy. A common symptom of this type of neuropathy is bladder paralysis. When this happens, the bladder nerves stop responding to pressure as the bladder fills up with urine. Urine remains in the bladder as a result, leading to UTIs.

High blood sugar levels can also encourage the growth of bacteria, leading to UTIs.

What’s more, people with diabetes may lose sensory function over time. This can make it difficult to recognize when you need to use the restroom. As a result, you may wait too long to use the restroom, or urine may stay in the bladder for too long, increasing the risk of bladder or kidney infection. 

Preventing UTIs

Keeping diabetes well managed is the best way to lower the risk of related health complications, such as UTIs. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial. When you urinate, make sure you empty as much of your bladder as possible. 

Other UTI prevention tips apply whether or not you have diabetes. Among them are:

Keep regular appointments with your doctor and always ask questions about how you can best care for yourself. Inquire with your doctor about the best ways to prevent and recognize UTIs. 

Work with your care team

It's critical to work with your doctor to develop a strategy for maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and to schedule an A1C test. A combination of lifestyle changes and oral medications help manage diabetes. You should also feel free to discuss bladder control concerns with your doctor.

If you have symptoms of a UTI or any bladder symptoms that are out of the ordinary for you, speak with a health care provider right away. Our board-certified women’s health specialists are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. Call our South Charleston, West Virginia, office to make an appointment today. 

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