While yeast infections are often seen as a strictly female health issue, everyone can get a yeast infection, including men. These cases are much less frequent than the most common vaginal yeast infections, but nonetheless can arise. A variety of factors can cause male yeast infection symptoms. With proper care and timely treatment, yeast infections in men will go away either by themselves, or within a few days. Read on to learn more about how to identify a yeast infection in men and what to do about it.
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All You Need to Know About Yeast Infections in Men
What Is A Yeast Infection?
Candida is a strain of yeast found on most human bodies. Populations of candida are usually kept in check by bacteria that cohabitate these spaces. When the bacteria are not able to feed on the yeast, the yeast can overgrow, often leading to a yeast infection. A yeast infection can develop in various places on the human body, but is especially prone to spaces that are moist, warm, and dark.
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Yeast infection symptoms in men typically manifest in penile yeast infections. This means that the skin in and around the penis may become infected, which can come with a series of uncomfortable symptoms. The most common are:
- Irritation and redness on and around the penis
- Light colored, shiny patches of skin on the penis
- Burning sensations during intercourse and/or urination
- Itchiness on and around the penis
- Red rash in and around the penis (can sometimes spread to inner thighs and buttocks)
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In men, yeast infections are most commonly due to the following:
Unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who has a yeast infection
Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a yeast infection is the easiest way for it to transmit to someone else. Open a dialogue with your partner about sexual health to ensure that both of you are being protected. If your partner has a yeast infection, refrain from sexual contact until treatment has ceased and the infection has gone away. If left untreated, yeast infections can be transmitted several times back and forth between partners.
Uncircumcised penises are more prone to penile yeast infections because they can harbor more bacteria under the foreskin. Developing excellent hygiene habits can help reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection.
Type 2 Diabetes
Having Type 2 Diabetes can increase your risk of developing yeast infections. This prevalence is because yeast feeds off sugar. Spikes in blood sugar create favorable environments for yeast to thrive, which can sometimes lead to a yeast infection. In fact, some people discover that they have diabetes because of increased frequency of yeast infections. Check with your doctor to be sure.
HIV has been linked to an increase in yeast infections, mainly because of the immune system’s weakened state.
Frequent or prolonged antibiotic use
Using antibiotics can throw off the body’s natural balance between yeast and bacteria. If too many bacteria are killed off, this may stimulate overgrowth of yeast, which leads to a yeast infection.
Exercising proper hygiene habits can help reduce your risk of yeast infection. Bacteria build-up, especially in sheltered areas such as the genitals and armpits, can lead to various skin infections. To prevent penile yeast infections, it is very important to regularly clean your genitals.
Wearing clothing that restricts airflow can help yeast infections develop. Some men report discomfort and infections caused by a change in laundry detergent. The skin of your genitals is extremely sensitive, and may be irritated by certain ingredients in detergents. If you notice discomfort associated with a new regimen, changing your detergent may help relieve irritation, or in this case, uncomfortable symptoms of male yeast infection.
Other Types of Yeast Infection in Men
Extended physical activity, especially in the warmer months of the year, can make feet susceptible to yeast infections. Using clean, dry socks and exercising good personal hygiene will minimize this risk. Antifungal sprays and creams may also be helpful if uncomfortable symptoms persist.
Yeast infections of the mouth are also known as “oral thrush.” It is unclear whether this type of yeast infection can be transmitted through oral sex. However, oral thrush can develop from other physical imbalances that cause the same candida yeast to overgrow. Yeast infections of the mouth are usually indicated by a bright red, usually irritated oral environment, speckled by small white dots. Consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
Skin Yeast Infection
Yeast infections can develop on virtually any surface of the skin, but areas that have higher levels of moisture, such as the armpits and mouths, are more likely to develop yeast infections. The causes of these isolated types of yeast infections will mainly depend on your lifestyle and personal hygiene.
Treatments for yeast infections in men are easy to access and with proper use will quickly relieve uncomfortable symptoms. In more severe cases of infection, your doctor may recommend an extended plan of treatment or lifestyle change. This information will help you understand your treatment options if you have a yeast infection. If you have had yeast infections in the past and feel comfortable identifying the problem when it persists, you can use over the counter (OTC) treatment options to get rid of the infection. However, you should consult your doctor every time, to be sure that your symptoms are not actually indicative of a different, potentially serious problem.
If left untreated, male yeast infections can become extremely uncomfortable and potentially dangerous if the infection is able to penetrate the blood stream. Consult with your doctor immediately after noticing signs of yeast infection in men. In rare, persistent cases of penile yeast infections, your doctor may recommend circumcision as a treatment option. While circumcision is normally performed on infants, the procedure can safely be done on adult males of any age. Your doctor can help you determine what a yeast infection is and what could be a different, more serious problem.