Male yeast infections are characterized by the excessive growth of Candida fungus in and around the penis. It can cause symptoms like local redness, mild swelling and itching. Candida fungus is naturally present in men and women’s genital areas, however some changes can lead to overgrowth of these cells. Changes in the immune system, for example, can lead to the emergence of yeast infections.
While yeast infections are more common in women, they can appear in men, particularly in those with poor hygiene habits. In addition to the genital area, men can experience fungal infections in other areas of the body, like between the toes, in the groin and inside the mouth.
Yeast infections are easily treated when adequate treatment is followed. Usually they are treated with topical ointments applied directly on affected areas, or with oral antifungals. Treatment does not guaranty immunity, however, and men should maintain adequate hygiene to prevent reemergence. Genital yeast infections also require treatment by any sexual partners to prevent reinfection from sex.
Male yeast infections in the genitals mostly occur on the penis, but symptoms can also emerge in the scrotum or groin. The main symptoms of a male yeast infection usually include:
- Pain or local redness
- Red rashes or white spots on the shaft
- Skin dryness
- White discharge
- Burning with urination
- Local itching
You should see a doctor for assessment if you have these symptoms and suspect a yeast infection. Diagnosis can be confirmed through a physical assessment, however reoccurring or atypical cases can also be confirmed with swabs that detect the presence of yeast cells.
Male yeast infections that occur in other areas of the body should be assessed by a dermatologist.
What can cause a yeast infection
Yeast infections can be caused by a number of factors, but changes in the immune system seem to favor the overgrowth of fungal cells in the genitals, mouth and skin. Many common causes of yeast infections are:
- Recent cold of flu viruses
- Stressful periods
- Having sex without using a condom;
- Frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics, corticosteroids or antidepressants;
- Chronic disease, like diabetes;
- Poor genital hygiene;
- Diseases that weaken the immune system, such as AIDS or lupus;
- Undergoing chemotherapy
- A diet rich in sugary foods.
There are certain situations that also favor the proliferation of fungal cells, like using overly tight clothing and sedentary lifestyles. It is important to remember that yeast infections can also affect the mouth, throat, nails, skin and scalp. Learn how yeast infections can affect women differently.
Treatment for male yeast infections can typically be done at home with the use of topical antifungal ointments such as fluconazole, miconazole, or clotrimazole. These can be applied directly on affected areas for 7 to 10 days, according to medical recommendation. More serious cases may require the use of oral antifungals as well as hydrocortisone pills. You should follow your doctor’s complete treatment plan, even if your symptoms resolve quickly, as fungal cells can start to regrow if treatment is not completed until the end.
There are natural home remedies that can also complement treatment, like using parsley leaves and lemon in your food. These ingredients contain antifungal properties and can be easily added to a salad, for example. Learn more about how yeast infections can be treated with medication and home remedies.
How to prevent male yeast infections
It is common for yeast infections to reemerge after symptoms have seemingly improved. To prevent this from happening, it is important to:
- Follow an appropriate diet, rich in water, fruits and vegetables to strengthen the immune system;
- Avoid wearing warm, tight or wet clothing;
- Practice good hygiene of the genital area;
- Use condoms during any sexual contact.
Strengthening the immune system is also a great way to prevent the spread of Candida albicans, so you should eat less sugar, exercise, and follow a healthy diet.