Male yeast infection (penile yeast infection, candidiasis, thrush, Candida balanitis, moniliasis)
Despite the common thought that yeast infection affects only women, men may also be infected and develop the disease. Candida infection may be acquired from a partner suffering from vaginal candidiasis. Typically penile candidiasis in males has a mild course and a man may even have no idea that something goes wrong.
Candida species are the small yeasts (fungi) that colonize the skin, digestive system, and reproductive organs as this infection thrive in moist areas. The disease develops when there is immunity dysfunction or the normal flora of the host is affected. The body cannot limit Candida proliferation and the colonies of the fungus start growing and spreading – the process known as the Candida overgrowth. At this time the symptoms of candidiasis become evident and disturbing.
Some factors are associated with increased risk of developing vaginal candidiasis such as:
• Not circumcised men are more likely to develop a yeast infection;
• Poor hygiene is a factor that significantly increases the risk of penile yeast infection;
• Having unprotected sexual intercourse with a woman who has active vulvovaginal candidiasis;
• Antibiotic therapy affects not only the pathogenic flora against which it was prescribed but also kills the normal flora allowing Candida spp. to thrive;
• Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus is characterized by high glucose levels in the blood, which predispose a person to the development of candidiasis;
• Immune deficiency caused by HIV or immunosuppressive treatment damage the immunity and as a result it cannot fight back any infections including Candida;
• An unhealthy diet containing lots of sugars is also associated with the increased risk of developing vaginal candidiasis;
Candida infection of the penis appears as a red rash and white patches that resemble thrush mainly at the end (head) of the male sexual organ (the glans). The foreskin may also be involved. The skin of the penis is swollen and painful, severe itching and burning sensation are also present.
Other symptoms of male yeast infection include:
• Pain or burning sensation while urinating (dysuria);
• Pain or discomfort during sexual discomfort (dyspareunia);
• A thick lumpy discharge under the foreskin of the penis;
• Irritation, soreness, and itching;
• Difficulties and pain while pulling back the foreskin;
In severe cases, the infection may also spread to the thighs, buttocks, and scrotum and cause the disseminated form of candidiasis or candidemia.
Typically the diagnosis is made based on the symptoms and the appearance of the male sexual organ. If the diagnosis is not clear, a discharge sample may be taken and sent to the laboratory in order to identify the causative agent.
Usually, males experience only mild yeast infection which does not require specific antifungal therapy. In some cases, topical antifungal preparations may still be needed.
Creams containing antifungal medications (such s miconazole, imidazole, and clotrimazole) are administered directly on the lesions for 3-7 days. Oral administration of fluconazole is recommended in severe infection.