While black mold is generally an unwelcome “visitor” in a home, there is one instance where it serves a positive purpose. Mold forms more readily in the toilet bowl of people who have untreated or under treated diabetes.

If you notice black mold appearing in your toilet, especially soon after you have cleaned it, you should talk with your doctor. While it may sound like an odd conversation to have, your caregiver is likely very familiar with the phenomenon.

What’s the Mold/Diabetes Connection?

First, it is important to know that mold does not cause or worsen diabetes. The relationship is actually somewhat the reverse.

Mold is an organism that can grow anywhere but is especially fond of organic matter. In particular, organic matter that contains glucose (aka sugar) is especially appealing. When a person has diabetes that is uncontrolled or not adequately controlled, the body reacts to its decreased ability to process glucose by essentially “dumping” it via urine and sweat. That glucose-rich fluid serves as nourishment for mold spores, which flourish in its presence.

That said, mold can thrive in virtually any environment that is moist and infrequently or inadequately cleaned. Consequently, mold in the toilet should be removed and the bowl sanitized (of course), with further investigation as appropriate, but the presence of the organism is by no means a guarantee of any medical issue.

Mold and Clothes

Another place that the mold/diabetes relationship can be observed is on clothes. In particular, if the clothes of a person with untreated diabetes have absorbed sweat and are not washed soon after, they can begin to develop mold. Here again, anyone’s damp clothing can become a haven for mold under the right conditions. The determining factor is more about the amount of mold and how quickly it appears.

So, while we may curse mold in most situations, its role as an indicator of excess glucose in urine or sweat is one we can be thankful for.

Important note: This article is not medical advice, and should not be used as a basis for assessing the presence or absence of diabetes or any other medical condition. If you have questions about diabetes, you should contact your physician.