Yeast is a wonderful thing when it comes to bread and other baked goods, but it’s not something a guy really wants on his penis. Unfortunately, yeast infections, though more common in women, do occur in men as well and can be a penis health concern. (If nothing else, the itchy penis that occurs is a major annoyance.) Usually when discussing such yeast infections, the culprit responsible for the infection is a yeast known as candida albicans (or c. albicans). But in some cases, the cause of that infection is a slightly different yeast, known as candida glabrata (or c. glabrata). And although they have similarities, there also are differences between them.
Not as common
Candida glabrata is responsible for about 10% of vaginal yeast infections; it is not clear what the percentage might be in men, but it is likely to be similar. As with c. albicans, c. glabrata can cause a vey itchy penis in men, especially around the tip of the penis. But there are other symptoms associated with it as well. The itchiness is often accompanied by a red rash and/or whitish spots, and there can be a burning sensation in the penis as well. The burning sensation often occurs while urinating, indicating that the yeast has made its way into the urinary tract and created an infection there.
C. glabrata on the penis is a problem, but a bigger issue is if the yeast spreads to the bloodstream. It can potentially cause severe problems, such as meningitis, although this is fairly rare.
Some more susceptible
Some people are more susceptible to c. glabrata than others – mainly people whose immune system is compromised or suppressed. This would tend to include people with conditions like HIV, cancer, and diabetes, as well as newborns and those who are elderly.
It’s important to distinguish between c. albiucans and c. glabrata because the treatment is different – but unfortunately, their symptoms are very similar. Microscopic and biochemical analysis is usually required for proper diagnosis; some doctors make use of a process known as MALDI-TOF MS, which is often a quicker way of obtaining a diagnosis.
Since most penile yeast infections are caused by c. albicans, they are typically treated with antifungal medication, most often fluconazole. But c. glabrata is resistant to this strain of antifungal medications; to make things more complicated, it seems to be able to develop resistance to other antifungal medications rather quickly.
Once a definite diagnosis has been arrived at, a doctor will need to determine what kind of antifungal treatment is most likely to be effective in a particular case.
Preventing this itchy penis problem is desirable, so appropriate steps should be taken. Knowing the sexual health status of partners is helpful; if a partner has a yeast infection, use of a condom, while not 100% effective, can help lower the risk of picking up the infection from sex. Some may prefer to abstain from sexual contact altogether until the partner’s infection has been treated and cleared up. This includes oral sex, as the infection can occur in one’s mouth as well as the penis.
The itchy penis and other symptoms caused by candida glabrata can be challenging. The itchiness may be lessened by the use of a top notch penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Often itchy skin is made worse by scratching; re-hydrating the skin can help address that concern. A crème with both a high end emollient (like shea butter) and a natural hydrator (like vitamin E) can aid in keeping penis skin moisturized. The ideal crème will also include vitamin B5. Also called pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is a vital nutrient that is required for cell metabolism and the maintenance of healthy tissue.