The male equivalent of candidiasis in women, is commonly known as balanitis or balanitis thrush. Despite common perceptions that that yeast infections near the genitals occur only among women, it is pertinent to note that yeast infections among men are also possible. While the prevalence is not as high as that of women, candida balanitis is a yeast infection that typically affects the penis and the testicles. Here is all that you need to know about male yeast infection, the common symptoms, simple measures to prevent the condition and the best method for managing/treating infections.
What are the different types of yeast infections?
Before we look at the causes and treatment options for male yeast infection, it helps to understand more about the different types of yeast infections. There are three different types of infections – jock itch, vaginal infections and penile infections. The first type of infection – jock itch – refers to the formation of a rash over the genital area. The second type – vaginal infections – refers to yeast infections experienced by women and is attributed to one of many conditions. The third category – balanitis – refers to the inflammation and redness of the penile area, especially the head.
Symptoms that indicate male yeast infection
The infection generally manifests on the head of the penis and foreskin. In individuals who are circumcised, the infection would be restricted to the head of the penis. In a limited number of cases, oral thrush is also known to occur that can affect the mouth, as a result of affecting the mucous membrane. The common symptoms that are indicative of male yeast infection include the following. Whenever an individual experiences inflammation as a result of yeast infection, it is highly likely that itching would accompany the condition. The appearance of the skin changes to dull red with a shiny tint. There is a possibility of experiencing irritation in addition to the outbreak of a rash or white patches. IN a limited number of cases the possibility of a white discharge also exists, which may typically emanate from the folds of the skin, especially from the foreskin. This could result in a foul odor, in addition to making the foreskin tight/stuck, making it painful and hard to pull back the foreskin. Individuals with the condition are also likely to experience pain when passing urine or while performing sexual intercourse.
What are the risk factors for male yeast infection?
While it is difficult to rule out an infection among all individuals, the high risk categories of men comprise the following categories. Individuals who are not circumcised have a higher risk of contracting the condition. While it is not necessary that all uncircumcised men may end up with the condition, the risk is relatively higher. Men who are on antibiotics for an extended period are also likely to develop male yeast infection. Men with compromised or with lower immunity are also at higher risk of contracting the infection. For instance, men with HIV or full blown AIDS are likely to develop the condition. Similarly, men with diabetes are also at risk of developing balanitis than men who are not diabetic. Obese individuals also slip into the category of high risk when it comes to the infection. Finally, it is important to practice proper hygiene and keep the genital area and undergarments clean and dry. Men whose hygiene standards are low are most susceptible to contract the infection.
Simple methods to prevent contracting male yeast infection
Despite individuals belonging to the high risk category, it is possible to ensure better protection and prevent male yeast infection. Easy to adopt and practice hygiene measures include the following. Avoid usage of perfumed products on the genital area. As ingredients of perfumed products are likely to trigger irritation, it is necessary to ensure that soap, or gel that is used on the penile area, is free from all perfumes. The penile area needs to be kept dry and free from moisture. As a result of strenuous physical activity or workouts, there is a possibility of moist undergarments triggering an infection. It is necessary to keep undergarments dry and clean and free from moisture. This will ensure that penis is dry with lesser chances of an infection. In the case of individuals with foreskin, the risk is higher, and it is essential to keep the area benath the foreskin clean always. Cleaning should typically involve the use of warm water and washing should ideally be carried out in water that is not stagnant. For instance, washing or scrubbing your penis in a tub is not the best way to clean. Rather the use of running water is advised for cleaning the genitals. Additionally, it is also essential to wear undergarments that are airy and loose fitting from materials that ‘breathe’. This will keep the area dry and clean.
What are the chances of contracting an infection from a female with an yeast infection?
There is no definitive answer to this question. There is a possibility of males contracting male yeast infection from a female partner with a yeast infection. However, it is always not the case, and a female partner with a yeast infection need not necessarily end up transmitting the infection. Therefore, the chances of contracting it from a female exist, but it is not mandatory. However, all individuals, male or female are always advised to stay off sexual intercourse or any kind of sexual activity when infected. Only after the infection has fully cleared is it actually safe to indulge in sexual activities of any nature.
What diagnostic methods are generally used to determine the condition?
Yeast infections typically resolve naturally without the need for medication. However, in some cases, the male yeast infection may aggravate and this could require suitable medication and treatment. For instance, individuals with diabetes may require treatment as the condition would persist. Specialists treating the condition may rely on one of two different types of diagnostics to learn more about the infection. For instance, a doctor may require to take a swab from the penis and under the foreskin to understand more about the infection. Similarly, it may be necessary at times to conduct a biopsy of the tissue when the condition persists for an abnormally long time. Biopsies are also performed when the condition results in the outbreak of sores and ulcers on the penile area.
Common treatment options for male yeast infection
The most common medications used for treating male yeast infection include topical applications. For instance, miconazole, imidazole, and clotrimazole topical ointments and creams are generally used for treating the condition. These topical applications are available as over the counter medications and are relatively safe if the individual is positive about the condition. However, in the case of infections that are either persistent, or intense, it will be necessary for a practicing dermatologist to check and prescribe suitable medications that are considered as more potent. Prescription strength medications require proper follow up visits, as the dermatologist will typically change the prescription after a period of time to manage the condition more effectively.
In addition to topical applications, oral medications are also prescribed in a limited number of cases. Men with confirmed cases of balanitis are often prescribed a combination of oral fluconazole and a topical application of hydrocortisone cream. While the topical applications are not commonly known to cause side effects, there are possibilities of side effects that are short term in nature. For instance, there is a possibility of experiencing a burning or stinging sensation on the penis head after application of the hydrocortisone cream. Serious reactions are highly unlikely, and are generally identified when the individual experiences swelling in the throat or the tongue.
Are there chances of recurrence of the male yeast infection after treatment?
There are possibilities of recurrence of the male yeast infection post treatment. Consequently, it may be necessary to undergo treatment for a lengthier period of time till the condition is fully cured. In a limited number of cases, uncircumcised men are likely to experience higher recurrence rates of the infection due to a combination of reasons. In such instances, the individuals are recommended to undergo circumcision. While it is not mandatory, it may help in a limited number of specific cases. The surgical procedure is safe for men of all ages and will not impact any activity, including sex. Frequent recurrence of the condition may also indicate the possibility of underlying conditions such as diabetes, which will then require suitable treatment. Yeast is known to grow better when blood sugar levels are higher. It is therefore necessary to seek suitable treatment for managing blood sugar levels. This in turn will have a positive effect on risk of yeast infections.
Both types of diabetes expose men to higher risk levels of contracting male yeast infection. Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes expose men to equal levels of risk. By treating diabetes alongside the treatment for yeast infections, it is possible to get better long lasting results as the reduced blood sugar levels help in managing the condition better.