Infections in the urinary tract can cause pain and uncomfortable symptoms. Many factors can contribute to the development of a urinary tract infection including the presence of diabetes. High blood sugars can make treatment of bladder infections more difficult and increase the likelihood of recurrent infections.
Bladder Infection Symptoms
Typical symptoms of urinary tract infections include, pain while voiding, bloody urine, and increased urinary urgency and frequency. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and lower torso pain. If left untreated, bladder infections can migrate to the kidneys and cause permanent damage.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that signals the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into cells for utilization. In diabetes type I, the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin. In contrast, diabetes type II is the result of decreased sensitivity and an impaired cellular response to insulin.
Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infections
According to an article published in Diabetes Care, S.E. Geerlings and colleagues examined the association between diabetes and urinary tract infections. The results found that 20 percent of the women who either had type 1 or type 2 diabetes developed a urinary tract infection during the 18-month study period. Since excess glucose is filtered in the kidneys, the glucose content in urine from diabetics is significantly higher when compared to non-diabetics. Higher glucose concentrations in the urine provide an abundant source of nutrients for bacteria, which can proliferate and cause an infection.
Diabetes may also increase the risk of urinary tract infections through additional mechanisms including an impaired immune response and inhibition of bladder contractions, allowing urine to remain stagnant and creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
Although urinary tract infections can resolve on their own, most patients require the use of antibiotics to shorten the duration of symptoms and eliminate the infection. This is especially true in diabetics since the disease promotes an environment ideal for bacterial growth in the urine.
Diabetics are also more susceptible to recurrent bladder infections and may require the use of prophylactic antibiotics. Patients should contact a physician if they have concerns regarding diabetes and urinary tract infections.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.