Symptoms of Prediabetes in Females

Prediabetes is when blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are too high to be considered normal but not enough to be diabetes. Hormonal differences make this condition different between men and women. For example, women are more likely than men to develop diabetes-related complications such as vascular disease.

Learn more about the symptoms of prediabetes in girls and women.

woman doing at-home blood sugar test

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How Do You Know If You Have Borderline Diabetes?

Over 80% of people with borderline diabetes or prediabetes do not know they have it. The symptoms of prediabetes are often mild, so much so that they go undetected.

However, early signs and risk factors may signal the need for screening. For example, people with polycystic ovary syndrome or excess weight are more likely to develop prediabetes.

What is an A1C test?

A1C tests are done using a simple finger prick to get a small blood sample. It requires no preparation. Healthcare providers use A1C tests to determine your average blood sugar over the last three months and assess your diabetes risk based on specific A1C ranges:

  • Normal - below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes - 5.7% - 6.4%
  • Diabetes - 6.5% or above

Symptoms of Undiagnosed Prediabetes in Women

Some symptoms of prediabetes are the same for men and women. However, women may experience additional signs of prediabetes and diabetes, such as:

There is also a significant link between stress and prediabetes in women, as stressed women have nearly double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as those who are not stressed.

General Prediabetes Symptoms

There are three symptoms of prediabetes that are common among men and women, which include the following:

  • Excessive thirst, even after drinking plenty of water
  • Fatigue that does not go away even with enough sleep
  • Frequent urination (needing to pee), even without consuming a lot of fluids

Female Health and Prediabetes: What to Know

Prediabetes is more common among men than women, but women are more likely to know that they have prediabetes. While learning that you have prediabetes may be challenging, knowing you do can help you implement changes to reverse the condition and prevent it from progressing to type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, women are at increased risk of diabetes complications such as heart disease. People with a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) are also at an increased risk of developing prediabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn if you could benefit from annual prediabetes screenings.

Reversing Prediabetes

It is possible to reverse prediabetes before it escalates to type 2 diabetes by implementing lifestyle changes, including the following:

Even small changes such as 30 minutes of exercise five days a week and weight loss of 7% of total body weight can go a long way in reversing prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes.

How Long Does It Take?

Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes within five years or less. It is possible to reverse prediabetes by reducing stress levels, eating healthy foods, and being physically active. It is possible to reverse prediabetes and diabetes within three to six months. However, the timeline varies based on your overall health and lifestyle changes.

Foods to Avoid

The primary foods to avoid prediabetes are those with a lot of sugar, such as candy, baked goods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and processed white bread and grains. A plant-based diet has been shown to promote weight loss and prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.


Prediabetes is a serious health condition that affects women differently than men. Many people do not know they have prediabetes because they either do not have symptoms or symptoms are so subtle that they do not notice them. It is possible to reverse prediabetes before it leads to type 2 diabetes by reducing stress levels, exercising regularly, and eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet low in sugar. Small changes can lead to significant health benefits.

A Word From Verywell

Suspecting, being diagnosed, and living with prediabetes can be challenging, especially considering the increased risk of type 2 diabetes and related health complications. If you or someone you know is experiencing prediabetes, help is available. Prediabetes is treatable and reversible with healthy behavior changes. Reach out to a healthcare provider for support.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the main cause of prediabetes?

    There are multiple causes of prediabetes, with excess weight as a significant contributing factor. E, which may be related to consuming high-glycemic food (foods that increase blood sugar), limited physical activity, or both. Changing these behaviors can help to prevent and treat prediabetes.

  • What brings on sudden prediabetes?

    Prediabetes typically does not happen suddenly, but it may seem sudden because many people with prediabetes don't know they have it. Other factors include gaining weight quickly and insulin resistance when the body does not respond the way it should to the insulin that lowers blood glucose levels.

  • Does stress cause borderline prediabetes symptoms?

    The connection between stress and prediabetes and diabetes is not entirely clear. However, research shows that the risk of type 2 diabetes is nearly double in stressed women compared to those who are not.

19 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ashley Olivine is a health psychologist and public health professional with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice. She has also researched a wide variety psychology and public health topics such as the management of health risk factors, chronic illness, maternal and child wellbeing, and child development.