Diabetes increases the susceptibility to develop infections, of which urinary tract infections and bladder problems are most common. Because of the nerve damage associated with diabetes, the nerves that control bladder functioning become dysfunctional resulting in over - activity, incontinence or urinary retention. Urinary tract infections are also common because of the increased blood sugar level which favour the bacterial growth and cause infections. The most common urological problems to develop in diabetes can be classified into bladder problems and urinary tract infections (UTI).
Overactive Bladder: Because of the damage to nerves, bladder receives and sends signals at wrong times leading to over activity of sphincter muscles resulting in increased frequency and urgency to urinate more. Medications and Kegel exercises to strengthen bladder muscles are proved to be helpful.
Urinary Retention: Nerve damage can also weaken or prevent the sphincter muscles of bladder from getting the signal to urinate, leading to incomplete emptying of bladder causing urinary retention. Due to incomplete emptying the urine from bladder may flow back to kidneys causing elevated pressure damage to kidneys. Susceptibility to infection also increases, prolonged retention sometimes may lead to incontinence also.
Symptoms of urinary retention
- Inability to completely empty the bladder.
- Frequent urge to urinate.
- Pain, heaviness or discomfort in lower abdomen.
- Bloating of lower abdomen:Medication, Kegel exercises and catheterisation can help cure the condition. In severe conditions surgery can also be advised.
- Urinary incontinence: Due to nerve damage, sphincter muscles of bladder may lose control and become weak leading to incontinence.
- Urinary tract infections (UTI): UTI is a serious condition, which is more prevalent in females and requires immediate medical attention. UTI can lead to urethritis (infection of urethra), cystitis (infection of bladder) and If left untreated it may also lead to pyelonephritis (infection of kidneys).
Symptoms of UTI
- Burning sensation in urethra and bladder during urination.
- Increased and frequent urge to urinate.
- Heaviness or discomfort in pubic bone in females and rectum in males.
- Pain in lower abdomen and lower back.
- Cloudy, reddish or smelly urine.
- Fever due to infection:Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid serious kidney infections. For the treatment of existing infection, usually antibiotics are prescribed. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent UTI recurrence.
- The most effective way to prevent urologic conditions is by maintaining healthy levels of blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Diet comprising of fresh fruits, vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids should be consumed, processed foods and trans fats should be completely shunned and sodium intake should also be limited.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active can greatly help in keeping the complications of diabetes at bay.
- For smokers, quitting smoking will not only help in preventing urologic conditions but will also lower down the other risk factors related to diabetes such as stroke, heart attack, and other diseases.
With the increased awareness towards health tourism, now more and more patients prefer their urology treatment in India because of the cost effectiveness, improved technology and hospitality of urologists here.