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April 30, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Athens, Greece:

I have recently read that recurring thrush may mean that I have diabetes. I have had recurring vaginal yeast infections for the past three years or so. I have had endless gynaecological examinations, and they always come back negative for everything else except candida albicans. The lab tests show that all forms of treatment should work, but they don't appear to, as the infection comes back. I often see symptoms of it practically immediately after having taken treatment. I am now taking continuous treatment (every month at menstruation), but so far don't see that it's working. I would like to know if it is possible that this problem is a result my having diabetes without knowing it. There is no specific incidence of diabetes in my family, but my father has lately shown higher blood sugar levels and has been warned he may end up having diabetes, mostly due to lifestyle habit. I do drink a lot of water but this has been so for many years and increased in my teens, coinciding with choosing a healthier lifestyle. How possible is it that I may have diabetes? Should I consider asking my doctor? If so, what are the tests do I need to take?

Answer:

I am sorry for the problems you have had. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause thrush. However, it does not sound like you have any of the other symptoms of acute hyperglycemia (frequent urination, blurred vision, weight loss, etc.). You are young and without a family history. It would be unlikely for you to have diabetes. However, the test for diabetes [measurement of blood sugar] is easy enough for you to have done.

Without any underlying reason for recurring vaginal yeast infections, and a high rate of recurrence, I would consider seeing a specialist in infectious diseases. Such a specialist is available at most large hospitals.

JTL