Yeast infections are usually identified with women, but they also occur in men, and are one of the causes of persistent penile itching that wreaks havoc on a man. When a yeast infection is responsible for penile itching, it goes from being an annoyance and inconvenience to a penile health problem, so taking steps to treat or prevent the condition is essential. One avenue that men may want to explore is the possible use of probiotics as a preventative measure.
When penile itching is caused by a yeast infection, it’s often called a yeast infection, but since that word is a mouthful, men more commonly call it “thrush.” The yeast that creates yeast infection is a fungus known as candida albicans, which occurs naturally in the body and is very common. Like all fungi, it thrives in warm, moist areas, so the penis is an attractive place for it to appear.
Thrush usually presents as an itchy rash on the tip of the penis (and on the foreskin in intact men). It can also cause pain, especially when urinating. Intact men can also experience an increase in smegma when candidiasis is present.
Although candidiasis can be transmitted during sexual intercourse, it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection. And for some reason, it is found more often among men who are not sexually active!
Now that yeast infection has been explored, what about probiotics? What are they and why might they help with candidiasis?
One of the reasons candida albicans tends to overgrow its normal levels and create a yeast infection is because the immune system may be operating at too low a level. This can happen for various reasons. For example, taking steroids or antibiotics can cause a weakened immune system. When that happens, the “good” bacteria, the kind that keep candida albicans at bay, decrease, and thus the thrush has a chance to take hold and grow.
That’s where probiotics come in. Probiotics are some of the “good” bacteria mentioned above. They are active in the digestive tract and can help prevent the growth of unwanted yeast there.
Several studies have shown that probiotics help the intestine to keep candida albicans under control and, therefore, can help prevent the appearance of thrush. Therefore, including probiotics in the diet, especially if the immune system is suppressed, can help prevent penile itching.
No studies have yet been done to show whether using probiotics in a case of already active yeast infection can help it go away. In such cases, a man should consult with his doctor to determine which course of treatment may be best for treating active thrush. Application of an antifungal medication will usually work well.
Men who are interested in adding probiotics to their diet to help prevent thrush should still check with their doctors and/or a nutritionist ahead of time (as they should with any significant dietary changes they’re contemplating).
Probiotics can be a good preventative measure against thrush, but there can be many other causes for an itchy penis. Often symptoms of penile itching may respond to the use of a superior penile health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, that is clinically proven to be gentle and safe for the skin). The itching is often caused or exacerbated by dry skin on the penis. So select a cream with a high-end emollient (such as shea butter) and a natural moisturizer (such as vitamin E). This combination of moisturizers helps create a “moisture shield” to strengthen the skin of the penis. The cream should also include alpha lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant that keeps skin healthy by fighting free radicals that can damage penile skin cells.