G: What Is Glycosuria?

14/01/2014 14:14 | Updated 22 May 2015

Glycosuria is the term given when high levels of glucose (or sugar) are found in urine.

Around one sixth of pregnant women will have high levels of sugar in their urine, making glycosuria a common occurrence.

This happens because, during pregnancy, there is an increased blood flow to the kidneys, which prevents them from processing substances such as sugar with their usual efficiency.

Generally speaking, glycosuria is not a cause of concern. However, the presence of glucose in the urine must always be investigated as it can be a sign of gestational diabetes, and a woman will be monitored for this during her routine antenatal checks.

Gestational diabetes affects around five per cent of women and, in particular, those from Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. A woman with gestational diabetes will be treated mainly through a combination of diet restriction and mild exercise, although some may need to take insulin.

A baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes may suffer jaundice and may also be large for its gestational age, which can cause difficulties during birth. Additionally, if a woman does develop gestational diabetes, she then has a 50 per cent risk of developing Type II diabetes over the next 10-15 years.

If it is ascertained that the woman is suffering from a simple case of glycosuria, there are actions she can take to limit the levels of sugar in her urine. These include avoiding sweet and fizzy drinks, and foods such as sweetened cereals and sugary desserts.

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