Probiotics can help with jock itch as evidenced by research validating their effectiveness against fungal infections. Probiotics also work by introducing more beneficial bacteria into the skin microbiome, hence suppressing the fungus that is responsible for causing jock itch.
Currently, there are few if any probiotics supplements that are made specifically for jock itch. However, any probiotics that are effective against fungal infections can also work for this condition. While we are at it, Probiotic Benefits for Men, What the Research Says
There is an existing cultural trope that urges women to take yoghurt. The reasoning behind this women-yoghurt campaign is that it is a probiotic food that assists women in maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome, hence avoiding instances of vaginal yeast infections. Interestingly, in popular culture men are not pushed towards this yoghurt direction even though they are prone to jock itch, a fungal infection that bears similarities with vaginal yeast infections. In this article we aim to see how probiotics might offer a more effective solution to jock itch, in comparison to the other available options.
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What is Jock Itch?
Jock itch is a fungal infection that is often manifested as a rash within the inner thighs, genitals, and buttocks. The condition is also known as tinea cruris and the reason why it is referred to as “jock” itch, is because it mainly affects athletes.
The condition is also more common among men than women. Jock itch is mainly caused by damp and warm conditions, which in turn create an environment that supports multiplication of pathogenic bacteria (Source). For example, sweating and then wearing tight clothes that trap in moisture. Instances of jock itch are also more common when the weather is hot, such as during the summer season due to increased perspiration.
Jock itch is manifested as itchy, ring-shaped, and often red spots around the groin. In most cases, the itchiness that is caused by this condition will lead to flaking of the skin, which will be accompanied by a burning sensation. If you are overweight, an athlete, or you have a compromised immune system, you are at a higher risk of getting jock itch (Source).
The main cause of jock itch is fungal organisms that tend to thrive in damp and warm environments. The fungus that causes this condition can also be easily passed from one person to another when individuals share towels and other items of clothing. It is important to note that the pathogenic organisms that cause jock itch are not the same as the ones that cause vaginal yeast infections (Jock itch and yeast infection: Is there a connection?). The fungus that causes jock itch is similar to the one that causes athlete’s foot. Therefore, the causal fungus can move from the feet to the groin in various ways such as using a towel.
Jock Itch and Probiotics
Tinea cruris as a condition is more common among people with gut microbiota imbalance (Source). Microbiota imbalance often causes overgrowth of pathogenic yeasts in the stomach and on the skin. Hence, probiotics can provide a viable solution for jock itch’s possible fungus overgrowth.
When you think about tinea cruris as a problem of gut and skin microbiota imbalance, you will start to see how probiotics come into this equation.
Conventional Medication Versus Probiotics as a Solution for Jock Itch
In common medical practice, jock itch is treated using the same topical medicine that is used for ringworms and other fungus-related infestations. Most of these medications are available over the counter. The creams have an antifungal element to clear the infection, and they are also fused with a mild steroid cream to deal with the inflammation that often results from this condition.
My assumption is that before you started looking for a probiotic-solution to jock itch, you already tried some of these more conventional solutions, such as the topical applications.
Other conventional solutions against jock itch, include the advice that you should change your clothes and even the type of underwear you use. Mostly, you are advised to ensure that your groin area remains dry.
However, from my personal experiences when I had candida overgrowth, this does not always work. The jock itch will keeps recurring until you do something about your gut bacteria imbalances.
That recurring type of jock itch is the one we want to put head-to-head with probiotics.
In comparison with conventional medication for jock itch, oral probiotic supplements attempt to solve the problem from inside out. The rationale is that when you take probiotics, they will supply you with beneficial gut bacteria. The good bacteria will solve the problem of fungal overgrowth both in the gut and on the skin (Source).
The result is that probiotics will solve the problem of jock itch inside-out by dealing with the internal causes that are manifested as external skin conditions. Here is a super helpful article that can help you understand things better- Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: The Comprehensive Guide
It is also important to note that there are various probiotic skin creams that are available in the market. None of these creams are manufactured specifically for jock itch. I do not think that it is advisable to experiment by applying a skin cream to directly to your private areas. However, applying these products on other less-sensitive parts of your body such as thighs and arms is set to have adjacent benefits. For instance, a good probiotic cream supplies live bacteria directly to the skin, but you can rest assured that once these good soldiers land on you, they will naturally spread to various other areas of the body.
How Probiotics Deal with Jock Itch
Your skin, just like your gut is home to billions of live bacteria that help in various functions. It is almost common knowledge that the composition of your gut microbiota affects the skin microbiome as well (Source). Therefore, taking an oral probiotic will eventually benefit your skin bacteria. The alternative method of bridging the microbiota gap is through the use of probiotic skincare products. Probiotic skin creams are often manufactured to deal with other common skin problems such eczema, acne, psoriasis, and even wrinkles. There is still no enough research to show how probiotics can be fully applied to the treatment of skin conditions, especially when it comes to identifying the right strains and dosage.
Probiotics work against jock itch in two distinct ways. First, probiotics have been found to offer the body and the skin the necessary immune support and enhance barrier function (Source). Having enough healthy microbes on the skin will have an inhibitory response against the pathogenic fungus that causes the jock itch. There is a connection between the immune system and fungal infections such as jock itch. Hence, taking probiotics might improve your immune system and lower the risks of fungal infections such as jock itch.
Another way in which probiotics work against jock itch is by populating the skin microbiome with good bacteria. In most cases, jock itch infections occur as a result of more of the bad bacteria colonizing the skin. Probiotics work by skewing the skin microbiota balance and ensuring that there is more of the beneficial bacteria. Chances of fungal infections such as jock itch breaking out on a skin with a healthy microbiome are quite low as confirmed by various studies on the gut-skin axis (Source 1) (Source 2).
In both cases, a balanced gut and skin microbiota is enough to deal with the problem of fungal infections in the form of recurring jock itch infections.
What are the Best Probiotics for Jock Itch?
Probiotics are mostly a new addition to modern health and wellness regimen, and as such, they are not well-studied by researchers. Specifically, few if any specific probiotic products have been made specifically for jock itch.
There is research to show that probiotics that contain acidophilus, bifidobacterium longum, bifidobacterium lactis, and bifidobacterium bifidum strains are effective against fungal infections (Source 1). Consequently, the ideal probiotic for your jock itch will contain acidophilus or bifidobacterium strains (Source 1). Although probiotics with higher CFU counts are better, anything with more than 2 billion CFUs will do the job.
Mixing your probiotic supplement intake with a probiotic lifestyle should reduce instances of the fungal colonization that cause jock itch. By a probiotic lifestyle, I mean eating a diet low in sugar and carbohydrates, exercising, eating more natural foods, and using the right nutritional supplements. You should also aim to maintain this lifestyle for a longer period of time in order to get the desired and lasting results.
Before we conclude:
I have had jock itch in the past, and it used to be such a nuisance, especially because I was a younger more eventful man…if you know what I mean. However, when I was doing research on this article I remembered how I had almost given up to the fact that this condition was here to stay. Now, as I write this article I cannot even remember the last time I had it since I started my probiotic lifestyle.
Part of the reason why I remain committed to this blog is because I am marveled by how much having the right health-related knowledge can change your life! My typical day would start with me feeling like I had the world’s worst hangover, even if I did not even drink alcohol. I would stay in the toilet for almost ten minutes because nothing was moving the way it should. I would spend at least 70% of my day bloated. My life was just a mess, and I looked for solutions for a long time before I eventually tried probiotics and started changing my lifestyle. I am basically a new person now, and this is the reason I can never go back to that horrible place.
My point is small experiments in your life could change your life in ways you could not even have imagined. You can try probiotics just for the jock itch, and then it ends up making you happier and less moody, with a better digestion, and even with more radiant skin. You really never know until you try.