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Question: Dr. TaMara, I am a diabetic and find that I have been getting more and more yeast infections, mainly after intercourse and Right before my period. How should I go about treating this if you know.

Answer: Thank you for contacting me and sharing your story!  There could be many reasons why you are getting frequent yeast infections including: antibiotics, pregnancy, impaired immune system, anything that changes the type and amount of bacteria normally present in the vagina, such as douching or irritation from inadequate vaginal lubrication, hygiene habits, medical conditions such as Diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the things that can upset the normal balance because yeast love to eat sugar, especially glucose. When there’s extra sugar in your blood, there is likely to be more in your vagina and other tissues. Because extra glucose in your blood will seep into your vagina and feed yeast, it is important to try to keep your blood glucose as close to the normal range as possible to help reduce the likelihood of getting an infection.

Since you are experiencing frequent reoccurring yeast infections, before you continue with any over-the-counter treatments, consider having a conversation with your physician. When you talk with your physician, review guidelines for keeping your sugar levels in the controlled range so you can keep your diabetes and your yeast infection under control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with medical conditions such as diabetes who have a yeast infection should be treated with 7 to 14 days of yeast infection treatment. It is important to note that, some women with diabetes may also have a yeast infection with a different type of yeast that may not respond to the drug fluconazole, so it is important to discuss that with your physician as well. In addition, consider asking your physician the following: 1) will any treatments for yeast infections impact your diabetes and any other co-occurring conditions that you may have, 2) do I need a different dosage or product because I’m diabetic, and 3) If I get another yeast infection, is it all right to treat myself with an over-the-counter yeast infection product or should I consult with you first?

The most important way to prevent yeast infections is to optimize glucose control so that the sugar in the secretions from the vulva and vagina does not promote the buildup of glucose which can help to create that irritating yeast infection. Some additional tips that may help prevent yeast infections include: avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, wear cotton underwear and eat yogurt with live cultures (probiotics).