What are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Women?

B. Miller

It is important to recognize the symptoms of diabetes in women so that the disease can be caught early, especially if it is still in the pre-diabetes stage before it has really become serious. Both Type I and Type II diabetes often have similar symptoms, though Type II diabetes often does not appear until later in life. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in women include increased hunger and thirst, more frequent urination, weight changes, sexual problems or the occurrence of yeast infections, and fatigue, among others.

A person with foot and ankle swelling, which is a sign of diabetes.
A person with foot and ankle swelling, which is a sign of diabetes.

Since most of the symptoms of diabetes in women are also fairly common symptoms of other conditions, a blood test from a doctor will be required to truly diagnose diabetes. The test will check blood sugar levels to determine if diabetes is present, or if it is in the beginning stages. Once the condition has been diagnosed, the doctor will prescribe a treatment plan that may include simply dietary and exercise changes, or a treatment with insulin injections if that becomes necessary. In some cases of Type II diabetes, the disease can actually be reversed with significant lifestyle changes and carefully following the instruction of a doctor.

Women with diabetes may lose weight unexpectedly or be sick more than often due to a comprised immune system.
Women with diabetes may lose weight unexpectedly or be sick more than often due to a comprised immune system.

Fatigue, increased hunger and thirst, and frequent urination that occurs often at night are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in women. Despite this increased hunger, weight loss will often occur at the same time; some women will also experience nausea and vomiting, though this is more common with Type I diabetes and is not always found as part of the symptoms of diabetes. Yeast infections and urinary tract infections are also some of the more common symptoms of diabetes in women, and some women may experience sexual problems as well.

Wounds that heal slowly, or never seam to heal, are other common symptoms of diabetes in women. Simple cuts or scrapes may become infected and refuse to heal despite caring for them properly. In addition, some people will experience sudden vision changes, realizing that their vision has become blurry within a relatively short period of time, or that their old prescription is no longer working. Some neurological changes may also be present, such as irritability, anger, confusion, or difficulty concentrating. It is important to make note of all of these symptoms and visit a doctor as soon as possible if they seem to be occurring together or worsening despite efforts to deal with them.

Women who suspect that they are exhibiting signs of diabetes should discuss the issue with their physician as soon as possible.
Women who suspect that they are exhibiting signs of diabetes should discuss the issue with their physician as soon as possible.

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Discussion Comments

Rotergirl

While all of the above can be symptoms of diabetes, they are mostly of the long-term, untreated variety. One frequent symptom of diabetes early on is what doctors call "fatigue and malaise." That is, generally feeling like crap all the time, without any other specific symptoms. I didn't know how bad I'd been feeling until I got my blood sugar regulated. It felt like I'd been walking around in a fog and then walked out into the sunshine -- it was that dramatic.

While increased thirst and urination are also symptoms, women may also experience a sudden increase in vaginal yeast infections. This is because of the extra sugar in the blood, and a diminished immune system.

With any of these symptoms, a blood workup can usually diagnose diabetes before the complications start.

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