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I often get urinary tract infections because my sugars are constantly out of control through no fault of my own. I believe they call it "brittle" diabetes. Anyway, the doctors are reluctant to give me Bactrim all the time because I do get these infections quite easily. They usually want me tested first to make sure that's what my problem is also. The question I pose to you is: is there anything I can do to either prevent these from occurring or to fix the problem when it arises?


You didn't mention how old you are or how long you have had diabetes. It is unusual for uncomplicated high blood sugars to increase the susceptibility to urine infections. On the other hand, a urine infection can raise the blood sugars and insulin requirements and contribute to difficulty controlling the blood sugar. Sugar in the urine does predispose people to yeast infections, but these are not treated with Bactrim (an antibiotic). It is important that you have a urine culture when you have symptoms to document that you are in fact having a true bacterial infection of the urine and to see which antibiotic would work the best.

People with longstanding diabetes may have problems with the nerves that control bladder function and may not completely empty their bladder each time they urinate. If the bladder does not empty properly, there is an increased chance of developing urine infections.

Of course, people with diabetes can also have problems unrelated to their diabetes that could make them more prone to repeated urine infection. You may need to have an ultrasound or other X-ray of your kidneys to look for other problems that could predispose you to urine infections or to look for problems that can be caused by repeated urine infections.

It is important that you work closely with your physician to learn to regulate your diabetes and adjust your insulin as necessary if you get any kind of infection. You can discuss with your physician whether it might help to see a urologist to try and found out if there is a problem making you more prone to urine infections that can be treated and to make sure you aren't developing other problems from repeated infections.


Original posting 31 Oct 96


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