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Does Having Diabetes Change Your
Penis Bacteria?

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February 6, 2018
By S. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

We think of the penis, other than the head, as a pretty sterile
environment. Scientists, too, used to think of the penis in this
way. But, it turns out, we were all wrong.

The penis --- the entire penis, shaft, head and all --- is a
veritable Garden of Germs. And that is not necessarily all bad.
Germs are having something of a heyday in science. The
study of natural bacterial environment of our guts called the
"microbiome", has educated us on the importance of "good
bacteria" in our intestines.

The whole idea of a microbiome in the gut had opened the
eyes of scientists studying other parts of the body. Sure
enough, the scientists who study the reproductive system in
men have now turned their attention to what they are calling
the "penis microbiome". What is the penis microbiome and
how does it affect your sexual health? Does diabetes affect
the penis microbiome?

The Penis Microbiome - A Largely  Uncharted Frontier

We know quite a lot about the intestinal microbiome. We
know, for example, that there are between 1000 and 1500
species of bacteria in an average gut. We know that the cells
that make up this hidden world of gut bacteria outnumber the
cells in the human body by a factor of 150 to one. This means
that the foreign organisms inhabiting your gut make up more
of "you" than your own cells.  We know that these foreign
bacteria influence or even control vital human systems such
as our metabolism, our immune system and parts of the
functioning of our central nervous system, affecting
everything from our blood pressure to our mood.

What about the penis microbiome? The bacteria inhabiting
the penis microbiome depend mainly on whether yo are
circumcized or uncircumcized.

The Penis Bacteria of an Uncircumcized Man Versus a
Circumsized Man

There are only a few scientists that have studied the natural
bacterial environment of the penis. Those studies that have
looked into the subject have found that men who are diabetic
and uncircumci
sed present greater bacterial risks to
themselves and their partners.

Men and Their Sexual Partners Share Microbiome Inhabitants

Unsurprisingly, men share the some of the same bacteria as
their sexual partners.

Studies have found that uncircumcised men have the same
species of anaerobic bacteria that cause bacterial vaginosis in
women. A 2010 study from Translational Genomics Research
Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, found that uncircumsized men,
in fact, have more bacteria on their penis than circumsized

Inflammation of the Foreskin and Glans Caused by Diabetes
Heals Faster with Circumcision

Diabetes changes the makeup of your penis microbiome. Here
is one example.

Balanoposthitis is inflammation of the glans (the head) and
the foreskin (the prepuce).

Scientists have found a strong connection between
balanoposthitis and diabetes. Diabetes accelerates the growth
of candida which invades the penis. A 2011 study by Dr. Uwe
Wollina of Academic Teaching Hospital Dresden-Friedrichstadt
in Germany and Dr. Shyam Verma of Nirwana Clinic, Baroda,
Gujarat, India found that Type II diabetes is most often
diagnosed in India by looking at the penis. Balanoposthitis,
most often caused by candida, creates cracks or fissures in
the head of the penis of diabetics.

In one typical clinic "75% of patients of candidal
balanoposthitis seen in this clinic were known cases of DM
[diabetes mellitus]". The overwhelming majority of men in
India are not circumcised.
(Read more about how
circumcision affects your sexual health

Diabetes affects the percentage of candida fungus in the
penis microbiome. It may also affect the make-up of the
bacterial microbiome, since some bacteria in the micobiome
may compete with the candida yeast for available energy

It is clear that one of the things you can do to improve your
penis microbiome is to manage your blood sugar levels. First,
get checked for diabetes by a doctor. Even if you are not
diabetic, choose to eat less table sugar and less refined
carbohydrates. This will help prevent or check the growth of
opportunistic fungal and bacterial species.

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