Type 2 diabetes symptoms: How an intimate itch could signal the chronic condition

Type 2 diabetes will affect more than five million people within the next five years, says the research charity Diabetes UK – and that’s just scratching the surface of the problem. Trying to relieve an itch could be the gateway to a lifelong condition.

The NHS notes itching around the genitals, or repeatedly getting thrush, is a symptom of type 2 diabetes.

As blood glucose (sugar) levels can go abnormally high in those with type 2 diabetes, the excess sugar can provide ideal conditions for naturally present yeast to grow.

The high levels of blood glucose levels can also diminish the body’s ability to fight infection.


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With ideal conditions for yeast to grow and a diminished immune system, thrush can present itself.

Diabetes can also cause a higher glucose content in urine, which is another suitable place for yeast to thrive.

The term “genital itching” describes not only the sensation of itchiness, but also any burning, redness or soreness in and around the vagina or penis.

It’s advisable, from Diabetes UK, to talk to your doctor if genital issues don’t disappear after a couple of days or if you’re suffering from repeated bouts of thrush.

This is because genital itching can simply be caused by allergies or skin irritations.

The NHS want people to take note of any other symptoms – as well as genital itching – which may signal type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

If left untreated, uncontrolled diabetes can increase your risk of diabetic complications.

Diabetes UK report complications can begin five to six years before someone finds out they have type 2 diabetes.

The charity adds: “One in three people will have complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves by the time they’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.”

Complications arise due to persistent elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. These include:

  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry mouth
  • Kidney disease
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cancer


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Focusing on kidney disease (medically termed diabetic nephropathy), Diabetes UK state the health complication affects around 40 percent of those with type 2 diabetes – that’s four in 10 people.

This complication occurs as the kidneys filter blood from many arteries which are negatively affected by diabetes.

Those with diagnosed type 2 diabetes should be screened for kidney disease every year.

Screening involves a simple urine sample to test for the presence of any proteins in the urine.

Diabetic nephropathy may be prevented or delayed by maintaining control over blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Two large-scale studies – the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) – demonstrated that decreasing blood sugar levels by one percent reduces the risk of complications, such as nephropathy, by 25 percent in those with type 2 diabetes.

Leading a healthy, active lifestyle can make it possible for people to go a number of decades free from complications.

And receiving an early diagnosis can get blood sugar levels under control sooner.

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