Diabetes can damage the nerves that keep your urinary system healthy and help it function the way it should. As a result, it can cause various urological conditions such as urinary incontinence, decreased bladder sensation, overactive bladder and even overflow incontinence.
Who Is At A Higher Risk?
If you have any of the following conditions along with diabetes, you are at a higher risk of having urological problems:
- Are overweight or obese
- Have a high level of cholesterol
- Suffer from blood pressure or glucose problems
- Are not very active physically
- Regularly smoke
- Are over 40 years of age
3 Types And Symptoms Of Urological Problems Associated With Diabetes
If you suffer from diabetes, here are some of the most common urological problems you are likely to develop:
1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
It is a condition where the high amount of blood sugar helps bacteria to breed and cause infection. UTI is a very serious condition and requires immediate medical attention, often requiring the use of antibiotics.
Symptoms – The common symptoms of UTI include mild to severe itching and burning sensation in the urinary area, especially while urinating, frequent and urgent need to urinate, heaviness in the pubic bone in case of women, heaviness in the rectum area in case of men, severe pain in lower abdomen as well as lower back, cloudy or smelly urine, high fever.
2. Overactive Bladder
It is a condition where your bladder works more than normal and makes you urinate, or want to urinate more. Various medication options as well as Kegel exercises can help cure the same. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend surgery.
Symptoms – The common symptoms of an overactive bladder include frequency and urgency in the need to urinate, difficulty in holding on to the urine, in which case urine can flow out even when you try to stop it.
3. Urine Retention
It is a condition where your bladder is unable to empty itself completely when you pass urine. Urine retention can lead to severe kidney damage as well as other infections related to the kidneys, and hence requires immediate medical attention. Medication and Kegel exercises can often help treat the same, while your doctor will refer surgery in case medication does not give the desired results.
Symptoms – The common symptoms of urine retention include inability to completely empty the bladder, heaviness or discomfort in the urinary area, frequent need to urinate.
How To Prevent It
There is no medical evidence yet as to whether or not you can completely prevent urological conditions if you have diabetes. However, you can surely reduce your chances of certain urological complications. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Include some form of physical activity and exercise in your daily routine to stay fit and in the right weight category.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible and avoid processed foods.
- If you are a smoker, try quitting completely, or reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke. Speak to your doctor about medication or nicotine patches that could help.
- To keep your cholesterol levels in check, eat foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and sardines, eat more of whey protein and reduce your red meat and dairy intake.
- Reduce your salt intake to keep your blood pressure in check and also cut down on your alcohol consumption.
In order to control your blood glucose levels, eat lesser amount of carbohydrates and drink enough water to stay hydrated at all times. Also, reduce your stress levels by trying out meditation, yoga, or other relaxing techniques that work for you.