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Dr. H. Shabana, Family Physician, Bokaro

India is the diabetes capital of world, where more than 7 crore people live with diabetes and half among them are women. Diabetes affects functioning of human organs. Apart from affecting heart, eyes, kidneys and feet, diabetes affects vaginal health of women badly as the possibility of developing vaginal infection in diabetes is higher. But most of them ignore their suffering as they cannot abandon the “caretaker role” in the family and have to continue to prioritize the health of other family members above their own. Inequitable access to health resources prevents early diagnosis of the disease in women. It leads to further complications and vaginal infection in diabetes is one of them.

One of the concern among women and their health professionals in the country is gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women. Gone are the days when these women involve in physical activities during their pregnancy days. Now a day’s the drastic change in lifestyle of women make them obese as they do not get enough time to exercise. This is the common reason of gestational diabetes.  Every fifth women in the country is suffering from this and it further compromises their intimate health.

If a woman’s diabetes is not well controlled, and her blood sugar is consistently high that leads to high sugar level in the mucous membrane that includes vagina and this is the most favourable environment for over growth of bacteria and yeast. So, those are the two main causes of vaginal infection i.e. bacteria and yeast.

If it’s a bacterial infection, the woman would need an antibiotic for treatment, and a yeast infection can be managed with anti-fungal agents. So it’s very important for a woman to see her health expert to have this condition diagnosed as probably one or the other.

Vaginal infection in diabetes can be prevented by women easily, she should keep her blood sugar level within the limit by doing regular exercise and modifying her diet which includes lot of vegetables and fruits. In hygiene measures, she should change her undergarments daily and it should be of cotton fabric and airy to keep vaginal infection at bay. A woman should wash her vagina regularly with plain water or natural intimate wash and not to use soap or soap containing cosmetic vaginal wash. Washing vagina with scented liquid soaps which contain harsh chemicals alters vaginal pH and it leads to vaginal infection. So control your blood sugar level and diabetes with proper hygiene and keep yourself free from the agony of vaginal infection in diabetes.

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