Although it is not as widely discussed as vaginal yeast infections, men can get yeast infections too. The symptoms can be difficult and treatment is crucial or he risks passing the infection to his partner through unprotected sex.
What causes a male yeast infection?
Sexual transmission is probably the most common cause for a yeast infection in a man. Although it is not considered a true sexually transmitted disease, the candida can be transmitted through unprotected sex.
This may result in the ping-pong effect; a woman with a yeast infection who has unprotected sex with her partner may then pass it on to him, and if she treats her infection and he does not treat his, then she will get it right back when they engage in unprotected sex again.
A few other causes of yeast infections in men
- Antibiotics. Though a much less common cause than sexual transmission, extended antibiotics use is the other main cause of yeast infections in a man. Just as the vagina has a delicate balance of bacteria and yeast, the male reproductive system has its own balance of microorganisms. A prolonged antibiotics course may upset this balance and result in an overgrowth of yeast.
- Diabetes. Also a cause for yeast infections in women, the elevated sugar levels in urine promote the growth of yeast.
- A spermicidal lubricant nonoxynol-9. Condoms with this lubricant have been known to cause yeast infections in both men and women, so you may want to try a different form of protection.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection in a Man
It can be difficult for men to know if they have a yeast infection because symptoms can range from almost non-existent to very intense. However when men display symptoms they are very similar to those associated with a woman's yeast infection:
- Irritation, soreness, and itching of the head of the penis are the most common symptoms.
- Redness may also occur on the head and men can also get the same lumpy discharge as women.
- Red, itchy bumps that may resemble genital herpes
Treatment of Male Yeast Infections
It is crucial to treat the yeast infection before having unprotected sex again as this could only draw out the problem longer. Over the counter topical creams that are marketed toward women reportedly work for men when mixed with vinegar and applied directly on the head of the penis. Most doctors will probably recommend an oral prescription medication that may have side effects.
Photo Credit: Urban Woodswalker