Most people are at least somewhat familiar with diabetes, but many know nothing more of it than it is a condition in which the body has difficulty processing sugar. In men, it can sometimes create some penis health issues, most often by the development of a penis rash which may come with consequent itching (often to an annoying degree.)
As the Mayo Clinic puts it, diabetes “refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose).” Since glucose provides energy for the body’s cells, including the brain’s, it’s crucial that diabetes be managed so that the glucose gets used in the appropriate manner. There are several different types of diabetes, but all of them have to do with blood sugar and with insulin, which is part of the process by which the body regulates glucose.
Diabetes is a very common problem. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that more than 9% of the people in the United States have some form of diabetes – but almost a quarter of them are unaware that they have this disease.
Common symptoms associated with diabetes are increased thirst and hunger; a need to urinate frequently and sometimes urgently; irritability and fatigue; blurry vision; wounds and sores that are slow to heal; frequent infections; and the presence in the urine of ketones (which indicates a lack of insulin in the body.)
Anyone who suspects that they might have diabetes should consult with a doctor. If diabetes is present, the earlier the diagnosis, the sooner treatments can begin.
Why a penis rash?
Men with diabetes may develop a penis rash either as a result of their diabetes or as a result of medications used to help treat diabetes.
At least two medications, dapaglifozin and empaglifozin, might be responsible for a penis rash. These medications can help some people with type II diabetes lower than blood sugar. Often the penis rash they cause is a yeast infection commonly called thrush.
But thrush can also be common among diabetics who don’t take these particular medications. But in this case, the condition is usually once again thrush.
As mentioned, thrush is a yeast condition. Like bacteria, yeast tend to thrive in conditions that are moist, warm and dark- which is just about as apt a description of a man’s crotch as one could ask for. What happens is this: the medications mentioned above help remove sugar into the urine. Even without medication, many diabetic men have excess blood sugar traveling throughout their bodies, much of which will eventually end up in the urine.
When a man urinates, some of that excess sugar will get displaced onto the penis, where it will dry there. Then the sugar, in the warm, moist, dark of the crotch, will take hold and grow, developing eventually into a yeast infection and presenting as a penis rash. (Sometimes bacteria will build up in the area instead of yeast.)
Thrush typically presents as a blotchy red rash with some white patches or as a dull red “glaze” on the penis; it is most often found around the upper shaft and the glans of the penis.
Antifungal medications, either in topical or oral form, are most often used to treat thrush. In mild cases, washing and paying proper attention to hygiene may be all the treatment that is needed.
Penis rash, whether from diabetes or other causes, usually reacts to daily application of an excellent penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). When the oil contains a combination of superior moisturizing agents, such as shea butter and vitamin E, the penis rash usually itches much less and may also go away more quickly. It also is good to select an oil with alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant that helps prevent damaging oxidative stress to the skin.