Yeast infections are commonly seen as a female problem because it is a common problem for women. But thought less common it is possible for men to get a yeast infection including a penile yeast infection. It is important that men are aware of this, what a yeast infection is, what causes it and what a penile yeast infection looks like so that they can take proper and swift action to treat it and deal with the root cause.
Understanding what a yeast infection is
Most yeast infections, wherever they happen on the body, are caused by the same micro organism, a fungus called Candida Albicans. On all healthy people there is a small quantity of that fungus living harmlessly as its numbers are kept under control by good bacteria. This fungus like other fungi likes warm, moist and dark areas of the body such as under arms and folds of skin, in the mouth, the vagina, the anus and the penis. If something happens to upset that balance between fungus and good bacteria and the Candida is able to multiply and overgrow it leads to a yeast infection.
What does a penile yeast infection look like?
A penile yeast infection as some symptoms in common with a vaginal yeast infection. Sometimes known as Balantis symptoms can include:
- Blisters on the head of the penis
- The tip of the penis being red
- White curd like discharge from the tip of the penis
- Itching that can range from mild to very severe
- Pain during and after sex
- Tender red spots
- Cracked, dry skin
- Pain when urinating
A penile yeast infection can sometimes be overlooked or misdiagnosed so when talking to your doctor about the symptoms make sure you are specific and detailed.
What causes a penile yeast infection?
- Diabetes can be a factor. If you are a diabetic and do not maintain control and monitor your blood sugar levels then you are creating a favourable environment for the yeast infection to flourish in. Yeast feeds on sugar, so high blood sugar levels means more yeast.
- Antibiotics can also trigger a penile yeast infection, or any kind of yeast infection if used for a prolonged period. Antibiotics enter the body with one purpose, killing bacteria. They do not separate the bad bacteria from the good, they just kill them all and so the control being held over the fungus’ growth is gone. The Candida seizes the opportunity to grow quickly becoming a yeast infection.
- If your immune system is already weakened by another illness or treatment for an illness such as HIV or chemotherapy for cancer then you are more likely to get a yeast infection.
- A poor diet, improper sleep, and stress are also all parts of your daily life that can impact on whether you get a penile yeast infection as they all affect the immune system negatively.
- However the main cause of a penile yeast infection is unprotected sex with an infected partner. If a woman has a vaginal yeast infection and you have unprotected sex she can pass it to you. It is not a certainty but it can happen. If it does happen you could enter a nasty cycle of re-infecting each other if you do not both get treated effectively.
Preventing a penile yeast infection
A far preferable direction than having to treat one.
- Wear loose underwear like boxers so that air circulates easily and keeps the genital area dry.
- Clean carefully, especially if you have a foreskin, and dry well.
- Get enough sleep.
- Have a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in refined, processed and junk foods.
- Find a way to relieve stress.
- Make sure you know whether your sexual partner is infected or not and if you cannot abstain, at least use a condom!
- If possible avoid over use and prolonged use of antibiotics
- Check to see if you are diabetic and maintain control over your blood sugar levels.
Treating a penile yeast infection
Treatment for a penile yeast infection is much the same as for a vaginal yeast infection. You can choose to use medicated treatments, creams, pills. Or you can look at natural remedies. There are arguments for both sides and the preference is really down to you. Medicated treatments can be gotten from over the counter at a pharmacy or from a doctor. The drug a doctor prescribes may be stronger than what you can get at a pharmacy, depending on the severity of your infection. Some are completely happy with the effectiveness of these treatments, but some find they either do not work, or they are only temporary, or the side effects that come with them is not worth it.
Natural remedies include raw garlic, which is anti fungal, live yogurt that has good bacteria in it, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar. Those that recommend natural remedies argue they are easy to get, to use, are safe and you are not putting chemicals into your body and they are effective.
Whichever route you choose, do it swiftly. Leaving a penile yeast infection untreated is not only causing you further discomfort, it is a pointless lack of action as it will not just disappear because you are pretending everything is okay down there! The best thing you can do as soon as you notice any symptoms is to visit your doctor, get a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options with him.