images (31)Thrush is a yeast infection otherwise known as candida albicans. Thrush affects warm, moist areas of the body such as the vagina, penis, mouth and certain areas of skin. People with diabetes are more prone to yeast infections such as thrush, because high sugar levels make ideal conditions in which for yeast to grow. Many people may associated thrush as a predominantly female issue but a dry mouth coupled with a higher amount of glucose in the saliva can also make for favorable conditions for oral thrush to occur.

Causes of Thrush

Thrush can be caused by a variety of reasons including the following:

  • High blood sugar levels
  • A weakened immune system
  • Damaged or irritated skin
  • Smoking
  • Certain oral contraceptives
  • Types of medications most commonly antibiotics
  • Gastrointestinal infections/conditions

Symptoms of Thrush

Vaginal thrush

  • Soreness and irritation
  • White curd appearance on the skin
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • White vaginal discharge
  • Reddening of the vulva (the outer parts of the vagina)
  • Itching around the vagina

Oral thrush

  • Bitter taste
  • Redness or bleeding inside the mouth
  • Creamy white coloured lesions in the mouth
  • Painful and sore mouth
  • Cracks at the corners of the lips

Thrush in Men

Symptoms of thrush in men include:

  • Reddening or swelling or soreness of the head of the penis
  • Itching around the tip of the penis
  • Discharge beneath the foreskin
  • Nasty odour
  • Pain during urination
  • White curd-like appearance on the skin
  • Painful experience during sex

Treatment of Thrush

Thrush can be treated through conventional treatments such as anti fungal creams, pessaries &/or medications. Probiotics can also be recommended, especially in preventing reoccurring infections.


The World Health Organization‘s 2001 definition of probiotics is “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. 

Probiotics are organisms such as bacteria or yeast that are believed to improve health. They are available in supplements and foods. The idea of taking live bacteria or yeast may seem strange at first. After all, we take antibiotics to fight bacteria. But our bodies naturally teem with such organisms.The digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria. They help keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food. They are also believed to help the immune system.

Researchers believe that some digestive disorders happen when the balance of friendly bacteria in the intestines becomes disturbed.  This can happen after an infection or after taking antibiotics. Intestinal problems can also arise when the lining of the intestines is damaged. Taking probiotics may help. 

Taking Probiotics When You Have Diabetes

You may have been recommended to take probiotics for a variety of reasons, especially if you have a gastrointestinal disorder. Probiotics in capsule or powder form are suitable for people with diabetes, but taking it as a live culture in the form of a yogurt may not be suitable, because in order to keep a culture ‘live’ sugar needs to be added to it. People with diabetes need to be aware that probiotic drinks that are widely available in the supermarket, maybe very high in sugar.

Natural live yogurt can be very soothing to reduce itching when applied around the vaginal area in the event of vaginal thrush.


At Diabetes Insight we can recommend several probiotics that are suitable for people with diabetes.

At Diabetes Insight we just don’t tell you how, we show you how!

Diabetes Insight is Ireland’s only private independent advisory service and education centre dedicated and specializing solely in Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME). Its aim is to make a difference in the lives of those living daily with diabetes by providing quality education, advice, support and resources in a clear, simple, practical easy to understand manner without fear of judgement or blame. We respect and see each person with diabetes as an individual, with individual needs, so all our services are tailored to your specific needs. 

All our services are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes who has over 15 years experience working and studying in diabetes management. These services are unique, from cookery courses to one day courses and are not to be found in any other health service or provider within the Republic of Ireland. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you and make a difference to you living with diabetes by ringing Helena on (086) 1739287 &/or email With services starting from as little as 20 euros, there is something to cater for every budget and need.

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