Most people associate yeast infections only with women. While uncommon, men can experience yeast infections, too. The same fungus that affects women, Candida, affects men in similar ways. In this case, a male yeast infection is known as Candidal balanitis.
Understanding Male Yeast Infections
The Candida yeast is responsible for at least 35% of all cases of balanitis. Other infectious sources include the Herpes virus and human papillomavirus, as well as a specific sexually transmitted bacteria called Mycoplasma genitalium.
However, the Candida yeast is not fully understood. Around 37% of men with Candida don’t experience symptoms of a yeast infection. And according to the same study, roughly 27% of those men develop balanitis.
Who’s at Risk at Developing Candidal Balanitis
Unlike women, men’s yeast infections are often sexually transmitted. However, male yeast infections are not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) since men can get them without having sex.
Men are more likely to develop a yeast infection if they:
- Are not circumcised
- Use antibiotics for long periods
- Have diabetes
- Have an impaired immune system
- Are overweight
- Practice poor hygiene
Those who use scented shower gels and soaps can irritate the skin and potentially help the fungus multiply. Additionally, men over 40 and with diabetes are more likely to have a yeast infection without knowing. The same applies to men over 60, who are more likely to have Candida colonization.
How to Know If You Have a Yeast Infection?
Symptoms of yeast infections in men are very similar to those women experience. However, please note that most people with the infection might not show any signs or symptoms. Because of the lack of symptoms, it’s vital to have regular check-ups.
Anyone experiencing the following symptoms might have a yeast infection:
- Burning and itching around the head of the penis
- Swelling and redness
- Rash-like bumps
- Pain during sex or urination
Those who might have balanitis, also experience:
- A thick, lumpy discharge under the foreskin
- An unpleasant odor of the foreskin
- Difficulty pulling back their foreskin
Men with diabetes may also experience more intense symptoms, including fluid buildup and fissuring of the foreskin.
Treating Penile Yeast Infections
Thankfully, most penile yeast infection cases can be treated with over-the-counter medications. There are various medicines available that can help. The most popular ones include:
In some instances, supplementation with hydrocortisone may be needed to reduce inflammation. It’s important to remember that topical oil-based medications cannot be used with latex condoms.
A Word from GR8NESS
Although most yeast infections are easily treated, you should speak with your doctor. Any other kind of balanitis or a disease caused by a Candida species can be resistant to conventional treatment options. Additionally, you want to make sure you practice safe sex to prevent spreading the infection to your partner.