A yeast infection usually happens in women, so you may think that it can be shrugged off when you’re a man. But that’s where you’re wrong. Men can have a penile yeast infection, aka candida balanitis or balanitis thrush.
This infection comes from a common fungus known as candida albicans. Currently, you may have a small amount of that fungus living in your mouth, digestive tract, or other moist parts of your skin. Women usually have some more of this fungus in their vagina, so they’re really prone to this kind of infection.
Although candida albicans is a fairly harmless fungus, when it grows too much in one place, yeast infection occurs. This can happen anywhere in your body as long as it can thrive.
If you have any of these, you may likely get a penile yeast infection.
- Poor hygiene
- Prolonged use of antibiotics
- An impaired immune system (like having an HIV)
If you feel you might have contracted yeast infection, you might want to watch out for these symptoms:
- Redness, itching, or burning feeling on the tip of your penis or foreskin
- Moist feeling on the head of the penis
- Sore or white patches on the skin
- Smelly discharge that looks like cheese
- Difficulty in pulling back foreskin
- Trouble in peeing
- Hard time getting erections
Although these symptoms may be present in you, it’s still best to not diagnose and treat it yourself since it shares most of it with other common sexually transmitted diseases. It’s better to go to your doctor once any of these happen to you.
Complications of Yeast Infection
For men, a simple penile yeast infection is at risk of becoming balanitis. Balanitis is the inflammation of the foreskin or the head of the penis.
This condition is painful and can make a person have a hard time urinating. If left untreated effectively, it can also leave scars on the foreskin or adhesion on the penis.
Another complication is called candidemia or invasive candidiasis, where the fungi enters the bloodstream. It usually happens to people who wait before receiving treatment or for those who have a weakened immune system.
Usually, your doctor will suggest over the counter antifungal cream or another prescription that removes the infection, depending on how strong it is. However, there are also other options like steroid cream for inflammation or oral medication for those who have the fungi in their bloodstream. Stronger medication needs a prescription, so it’s best to have it diagnosed by your doctor.
In some cases, a yeast infection may come back after they appear to be cured. Your doctor may give you a weekly treatment that you will be using until the infection is completely removed.
You may avoid having a yeast infection by doing these:
- Cleaning your penis well, especially the folds on your penis if you’re not circumcised.
- Managing your weight
- Use a milder soap or a hypoallergenic one
- If you have diabetes, always keep it in check
- Use condoms if you know your partner has a yeast infection
- Wear loose underwear to reduce the areas that can accumulate moisture in your body
- Limiting the number of sex partners
Although this happens to men quite rarely, yeast infection on the penis can still become a troublesome problem when left untreated. This can be prevented simply by practicing a better hygiene and using condoms during sex. Most over-the-counter anti-fungal cream can treat this infection. However, always make sure to consult your doctor since its symptoms can be coming from another sexually transmitted infection (STI).