When a man is faced with a red, itchy penis, he might think the worst. Is it a really serious infection contracted from sex with a new partner? Is it something that will be resistant to antibiotics? Will treatment be slow and time-consuming? How long before he can get back to a normal sex life? What should he do about penis care in the meantime?
But what most men don’t know is that a yeast infection can cause a plethora of awful symptoms that seem as though they are much more serious. Also known as thrush, yeast infections are often considered a “woman’s problem” but men are certain susceptible to getting them as well. Here’s what a man needs to know about this very common – and fortunately, very treatable – condition.
What is a yeast infection?
A yeast infection is an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast that is present in varying amounts on the skin at all times. Usually the body keeps it in check. But when a person has an overgrowth of it – thanks to a compromised immune system, certain medications or other reasons – the yeast takes over.
The result is truly terrible itching and redness. The itchy penis can become so severe that it keeps a man awake at night and prohibits him from thinking about anything else during the day. Redness, as well as a sense of heat, might also be present. The penis might have a white or yellow discharge and coating that looks somewhat like cottage cheese. The odor of a yeast infection is very distinct and strong, another thing that makes it tough to ignore. Sometimes there might be pain with urination, especially if the infection has invaded the urethra.
How does a guy get a yeast infection?
Yeast infections can come about in a variety of ways. A compromised immune system is a common culprit, as are underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes. Men might also get the infection from their sexual partner, as the yeast infection can be present before symptoms begin, and thus can easily be passed without the knowledge of either participant.
And though it’s unusual, sometimes a man’s diet can be enough to create the overgrowth. This is especially true if he is eating or drinking items that have a great deal of yeast in them, such as lots of beer, breads, crackers or cookies. Cutting yeast-based foods out of the diet can help if a man suffers from recurring yeast infections that don’t have an underlying medical cause.
What can he do about it?
When a man first believes he might have a yeast infection, he should go to the doctor to be sure. The test is simple and easy, and can provide results quickly. He should then embark on a course of treatment – which he might be able to purchase over the counter – and abstain from sexual activity until the infection has cleared. He should also inform any sexual partners so they can be proactive about treating themselves even if they aren’t showing any symptoms.
If a guy has another yeast infection after the first, he can usually recognize the signs and go for over the counter remedies, thus skipping a trip to the doctor. But if he does this, he must take care to keep his penis in great health, and do what it takes to ease the sore and reddened skin. A good way to do this is with a top-notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) . He should reach for a crème that contains vitamin A for odor control, vitamin E for softness, and alpha lipoic acid to fight free radicals and ease the signs of aging. For those with serious itching, Shea butter as an ingredient can also help stop the irritation on contact.