In some populations of women with diabetes, significantly fewer women with the condition receive recommended pap smears and mammograms compared with women without diabetes. Regardless of why this is, it’s important to take advantage of preventive health screening. Benefits of screening are clear. For example, finding cervical cancer early—by getting regular pap smears—is the best way to work towards successful treatment. And while women with diabetes aren’t any more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, some research suggests they may have worse outcomes with certain types of cervical cancers. If you’re younger than 26, ask your doctor if you could benefit from the HPV vaccine as well. This vaccine can prevent infection with HPV (a virus), which is the cause of nearly all cervical cancer across the globe.
When it comes to family planning, paying special attention to reproductive health is important. Well-managed diabetes will support optimal reproductive function, and this in turn may support healthier pregnancies and children. The following factors are some important ways in which diabetes can affect reproductive health and fertility:
Women who have poorer control of their diabetes may be more likely to experience menstrual irregularities, which can make it harder to become pregnant.
Compared with other women, women with type 1 diabetes may go through menopause earlier, and have up to a 17% reduction in their childbearing years.
Women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may be more likely to experience polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disease which can significantly decrease fertility.
The bottom line? Diabetes can impact reproductive health, but it doesn’t have to. Knowing your body well, working with your doctor, knowing what to look out for, and identifying problems as soon as they occur will all go a long way to preserving your reproductive health and your well-being.
Source: Diabetes Voice