Yeast infections are often considered to be a female health issue as women are more susceptible to getting them. Although they are less common in men, yeast infections can affect anyone regardless of gender or age. They are caused by a fungus called Candida that thrives in warm and moist conditions.
In women yeast infections are known as Vaginal Candidiasis and affect the female vagina, while in men they are called Candidal Balanitis or Balanitis Thrush and affect the penis.
Although a yeast infection is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it can be triggered by sex and sometimes passed on through sexual activity. Many men will contract a yeast infection from sexual contact with an affected female partner.
Other causes and potential risk factors for yeast infections in men include:
Unlike yeast infections in women, men generally will not experience any symptoms. However, when symptoms do appear, they can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Some common symptoms include:
Yeast infections can affect other areas of the skin, besides the male genitals. In such cases, they can cause red, itchy or painful rashes that give out white or yellow discharge.
Most mild yeast infections usually go away on their own if proper hygiene is followed. Your doctor may prescribe antifungal creams or oral medications to help manage your symptoms better.
However, untreated and serious infections of the penis can cause problems with the prostate. Men who get frequent infections should seek medical help,especially if the infection does not clear on its own. If an infection is persistent, it could be a sign of an underlying issue such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.
If a yeast infection is severe, a swab from around the top part of the penis or foreskin is taken and sent to a lab for testing. If the sores do not heal, a biopsy may also be required.
Good hygiene can help prevent yeast infections and also help in treating them. It is a good idea to wash the penis and the genital area with plain warm water, avoid shower gels and soaps with strong fragrances. Make sure you dry up after cleaning.
Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear or boxers to keep the genitals dry and cool, which can also help to prevent yeast growth.