Yeast Infections and Diabetes: What is the Link?Studies show nearly 3 out of every 4 women will experience a
yeast infection at least once in their life. For women with diabetes,
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GLORIA BACHMANN, MD: Lisa, it's really important for women to come in before they douche or before they start treatment for the first infection, so that we can see exactly what the vaginal health looks like and make the appropriate diagnosis.
LISA CLARK: Dr. Bachmann, what treatment options for a diabetic woman with a yeast infection?
GLORIA BACHMANN, MD: A diabetic woman, Lisa, can use all the same treatment options that a woman who does not have diabetes can use. That if she prefers oral, she can use oral. If she prefers a vaginal treatment, she can use a vaginal treatment.
LISA CLARK: Do yeast infections in women take longer to treat in some cases?
JOSEPH APUZZIO, MD: There is many therapies that one could use. One-day therapies, three-day therapies, seven-days or fourteen-days. And usually, patients who are diabetic need the longer therapy, not the shorter.
I think one of the mistakes that I see is a patient who has diabetes given a one-day or a three-day therapy. It's probably not going to be as effective as having a seven- or fourteen-day therapy. I think that's very important.
LISA CLARK: Is there a benefit to topical verses pill?
JOSEPH APUZZIO, MD: Well, patients can be allergic to either. Also there's the potential for drug interactions if one is taking a medication on a long-term basis. So for example, for chronic recurrent disease many individuals would prefer a topical therapy rather than the oral because the oral could interfere with some of the medications that the patient is taking.
LISA CLARK: Dr. Bachmann, I know that there are a lot of products will bill themselves as sort of an over-the-counter treatment, diagnose and treat yourself. Is that advisable, especially for women with diabetes who develop a yeast infection?
GLORIA BACHMANN, MD: It's advisable, Lisa, once the woman knows what she's dealing with. That she's seen her physician, that she knows the symptoms, the physician has looked at the vaginal secretions and confirmed -- under the microscope -- that indeed she has a yeast infection and that she certainly can treat recurrent ones when she understands what a yeast infection is, what it feels like.
LISA CLARK: Any additional thoughts that you'd like to add?
GLORIA BACHMANN, MD: I think the other important issue is to complete your therapy. Many women will come in and say to me, "You know what? I finished sooner than I should of according to the package, because I felt better." And I think it's important to complete the complete therapy and not stop midway.
The other is if a woman still feels that she has symptoms, they haven't gone away completely, then that's time to go back to the doctor and again go through the full evaluation of having a pelvic examination, having the physician look at the secretions under the microscope to be sure that the infection has been resolved with the medication.
LISA CLARK: So bottom line, start with a doctor and make sure that your doctor knows -- when you've completed treatment -- that the infection is gone.
GLORIA BACHMANN, MD: Exactly.
LISA CLARK: All right. Thanks all of you for joining us; we really appreciate your time. And thanks to all of you in our web audience. I'm Lisa Clark.
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