Like many other conditions, diabetes can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms are often mistaken for other problems. This is especially true with women, as they tend to write off any discomfort as part of their menstrual cycle or a hormonal imbalance. While it’s not ideal to call the doctor for every symptom, it’s important to recognize that they may signal something deeper, especially if several of them occur at once. Below are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in women and what they mean.

Excessive thirst: Women with diabetes tend to drink a lot, often needing water just minutes after they’ve had some. Although this occurs in both sexes, it is more strongly observed in women. As a result, a patient may need to urinate often.

Weight loss or gain: Many women with diabetes experience a decrease or increase of appetite, which leads to weight loss or gain. In most cases, the patient eats more but loses weight. This is because blood sugar levels in diabetics tend to fall rapidly after a spike following a big meal, which makes them feel weak and want to eat more.

Visual problems: Blurring or double vision is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes, both in its early and advanced stages. If you notice a rapid change in eyewear prescription, consult an eye specialist to see if it has something to do with your condition.

Poor circulation: Diabetes can affect blood circulation, causing a slight loss of sensation in a person’s hands and feet. In some women, this can also cause dizziness following rapid movement, a symptom often associated with low blood pressure.

Vaginal infections: Weakened defense systems make diabetic women more prone to genital infections. Many experience yeast infections in early days, while others develop an itch or dry patch around the area. The latter is often accompanied by skin dryness on other parts of the body, as well as a dry mouth.

Other common symptoms of diabetes in women include extreme fatigue especially in the morning and late at night, abdominal pain, breathing problems, rapid heartbeat, and fainting spells. Because many of these symptoms are associated with more common conditions such as low blood sugar, diabetes often goes unnoticed and is diagnosed only when complications have arisen. If you experience more than three of the symptoms above, and if you have a risk factor such as excess weight or smoking, consult your doctor to get a professional diagnosis.

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