If you are a woman with diabetes, you must be extra vigilant about certain conditions. The good news is that you're less likely to get some of them if your blood sugar is in good control, says Jeffrey Powell, MD, endocrinologist at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in Mount Kisco, New York. Even if you experience these symptoms, fortunately, they're treatable; so it's important that you feel comfortable talking to your health care provider about any symptoms or concerns.

The Most Common Female Complications

Yeast infections and vaginal irritation. Chronic hyperglycemia promotes both, says Powell, so it pays to strive for optimum blood sugars. "If you are in good control this is less likely to happen," agrees Howard Wilson, MD, an endocrinologist at Park Plaza Hospital in Houston, Texas. For women with diabetes, having elevated blood sugar can affect the ability of the white blood cells to fight infection, he says. And this lays women open to yeast infections.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs). These infections are more common in women with diabetes. When there is neuropathy, or nerve damage, in the bladder area, paralysis of the bladder can result. And when this happens, the nerves in this area don't respond when urine fills the bladder. The result? Urine remains in the bladder and a UTI can result. There also can be problems with incontinence.

Vaginal dryness. Nerve damage can occur when diabetes is not well controlled in various parts of the body. When it happens in the genital area, it can cause vaginal dryness and even interfere with a woman's ability to feel aroused and sexy. A woman could also encounter difficulty having an orgasm.

Pregnancy complications.  These complications can occur in diabetic women when blood sugars are high. "The higher the blood sugar at the time a woman gets pregnant, the higher the incidence of not completing the pregnancy," Wilson says. "An optimal blood sugar to have if you are trying to get pregnant is around 90." A high maternal blood sugar causes the baby's pancreas to produce insulin in utero. This increased insulin could cause macrosomia (a very large baby), which increases the risk of complications to the mother and to her baby.

Treatments that Work

First off, know that you still can enjoy a satisfying sex life. A variety of water-based lubricants are on the market today. Be sure to check with your health care provider if you want to get pregnant, since some lubricants could damage sperm and make it harder to conceive. Vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women could be helped with estrogen supplements, but this is a matter of personal choice.

As far as feeling sexy and aroused, the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your blood sugars and your blood pressure within the normal range.

On the pregnancy front, you can have a healthy baby, with extra vigilance on your part and extra attention from an obstetrician who specializes in high risk pregnancies. The health care team typically works closely with the expectant mom to make sure she's getting exactly the right diet. The first three months of a pregnancy are especially critical, since the majority of the baby's organ formation takes place during the first trimester, Powell explains. Tight blood sugar control reduces the risk of birth defects, he explains.