There has been a very common misconception concerning yeast infections, that they are a female problem. This has been compounded by the fact that the most common yeast infection is of the vagina and so women are far more likely to suffer from one. But though it is more likely to affect a woman than a man, it is not just limited to women. There is such a thing as a male yeast infection and all men should be aware of what the symptoms are, how they might get it and what to do if they think they have it. Unfortunately a male yeast infection is harder to spot than in a woman, and it can sometimes be confused with other health issues such as STDs. Since the key to effective treatment is to spot it early and act quickly being educated about it is vital.
What is a yeast infection and how can men get it?
A male yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida Albicans. In women this is often though not exclusively linked to hormonal and chemical imbalance. Though this is a factor in men, the more common causes of the overgrowth in men are diet, diabetes, antibiotics, a weakened immune system and unprotected sexual intercourse with a female partner who has a vaginal yeast infection.
The fungus is usually kept in low numbers by the good bacteria in your body. However a poor diet can affect that balance. A diet high in fats, processed foods, sugars and yeast products is going to leave a man more at risk. An anti Candida diet would involve lots of vegetables, no sugar or any of those other mentioned foods, more live plain yogurt, more water to flush out toxins and just to reiterate no beer! Antibiotics kill those good bacteria as well as the bad and so with that upset in balance the fungus can grow.
Diabetes is a causing factor because if a diabetic is not in control of their blood sugar levels, and they rise too high the fungus will feed on that sugar and multiply rapidly leading to an infection. Unprotected sex with an infected female partner is the most common way a man can get a male yeast infection in the penis. It is very important that you abstain while the woman undergoes a treatment, until that treatment is finished and her infection has gone. Otherwise it becomes a cycle of her giving it to you and then you passing it back to her. If you have both had unprotected sex, both of you should take treatment while abstaining.
What are the symptoms?
A penile yeast infection affects mainly the head of the penis. They include:
- Pain during sex
- Sexual dysfunction
- Red spots on the head that are tender
- A white discharge
- Pain when urinating
- Cracked, dry skin
A less common type of yeast infection a man can get is called Leaky Gut. This is from a systemic yeast infection and has more serious and varied health issues that come with it. As the term implies the infection leaks from the gut and affects all your other systems. It can cause a lack of energy, indigestion, bloating, depression, mood swings, poor concentration, aching and much more. Because the symptoms are so wide and varied it is hard to diagnose.
How should male yeast infection be treated?
The quicker you start a treatment the better, as the earlier you catch it the more effective the treatment will be. Do not try to pretend it is not there, or hope that it will go away if you ignore it long enough. The symptoms will just get worse. There are over the counter treatments for yeast infections – what will treat a woman is fine for the male equivalent (though avoid the vaginal suppositories!) If the infection is worse than just mild a trip to the doctor may be needed for a stronger medicated ointment or pill. These treatments are all anti fungal and are meant to clear up your problem usually within seven days.
If over the counter treatments have not helped or if you prefer using natural means to treat yourself there are natural home remedies that are very effective. Garlic, yogurt, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar to name but a few. There is plenty of information out there on natural remedies and how to use them.
Remember that a yeast infection loves a damp and warm environment, so change underwear often, wash and dry thoroughly, wear loose underwear made from cotton and loose clothing. Interestingly a circumcised man is less likely to get a male yeast infection than a man who still has his foreskin, so make sure you clean well there. Make the changes to your diet mentioned above, get plenty of rest, find a way to relieve your stress and get regular exercise!