A warning has been issued that SGLT2 inhibitors may be linked to an increased risk of a rare but serious genital infection that can be life-threatening.
The infection, Fournier’s gangrene, is an infection of the genital area that can cause flesh around the genitals to be seriously damaged. It can also lead to blood poisoning (sepsis), which can be fatal.
The United States’ Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning after receiving 12 reports of Fournier’s gangrene occurring in people taking SGLT2 inhibitors. The reports included one death which occurred as a result of the condition.
SGLT2 inhibitors is a relatively new type of medication prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes. They work by encouraging the kidneys to filter more glucose out of the blood, which is then passed out of the body via the urine. This helps to lower blood sugar levels but can result in a higher risk of genital and urinary tract infections occurring.
Glucose provides a fertile breeding ground for bacteria and as SGLT2 inhibitors encourage more glucose to be passed out via the urine, this increases the risk of bacterial infections occurring and developing.
Fournier’s gangrene is more likely to occur in men than in women and high blood sugar is one of the main risk factors. Pain in the scrotum and changes in colour (reddening or darkening) of the genital region are symptoms.
Fournier’s gangrene is rare but as it can be very serious, is worth being aware of if taking SGLT2 inhibitor drugs. If you have signs of a genital infection, it is important to see your doctor.
One way to reduce the risk of genital infections is to consume less carbohydrate. A lower carbohydrate intake means that blood sugar levels do not rise so high in response to meals and this means that less glucose needs to be removed from the blood and passed out of the urine. This means a lower risk of genital and urinary tract infections occurring.
Diabetes.co.uk is committed to helping people to lower their blood sugar levels in a way that helps them to reduce their need for diabetes medications. 40% of medication-treated people who joined our Low Carb Program have been able to come off at least one of their diabetes medications, which is a great result.
If you wish to improve your blood sugar through simple, healthy eating, you can find easy-to-follow guides within our award-winning Low Carb Program.

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