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Complications of Diabetes

Thrush

Thrush is a commonly used term to describe a fungal infection caused by organism called Candida Albicans. The condition is also known as Candidiasis or Moniliasis. These infections are usually trivial though inconvenient but in some people who are immunosuppressed they may be life threatening. Patients with diabetes are prone to candidal infections particularly if they are poorly controlled. Vaginal or mouth infections are common complaints which result in a diagnosis of diabetes which had previously not been suspected. The organism Candida is universally present in nature and is often encountered in the mouth and stools of people who are in very good health.

Vaginal Thrush

This cause intense itching around the vulva and a creamy white discharge. The area may be reddish and painful. You may experience a burning pain on passing water and need to go frequently. The symptoms can be confused with urinary infections.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will usually make a diagnosis by examining the affected area. It may be necessary to obtain a swab which will be sent to the laboratory for confirmation.

Treatment

There are many effective anti fungal agents. It is usually possible to treat these infections without needing to swallow tablets and topical preparations in the form of lozenges, creams, pessaries, and gels. Oral preparations are also very effective and often require only a single dose.

Prevention of further infections

  • Maintain good control of your diabetes
  • avoid taking frequent course of antibiotics
  • if you use inhaled steroids for asthma, make sure you rinse your mouth out after using your inhaler
  • in some patients with recurrent thrush it is worth treating the partner as well as he may be a source of re-infection.

 

Dr Nishan Wijenaike, Consultant Physician
West Suffolk Hospital Diabetes Service
October 2002