The Nature of Candida Infections In Men

One man wrote to an Internet advice service asking whether or not it was possible to have a genital yeast infection in men, after having sex with his infected girlfriend.

Like many men, he had previously thought only women got these genital infections.

The answer, from James M Steckleberg, M.D., was to the effect that although Candida infections are in fact more common in women than men, it’s entirely possible for a yeast infection in men to develop  on the genitals after unprotected sex — which means sex without a condom — with a woman who has an infection of the vulva or vagina.

The interesting thing, however, is that even if a woman does have a yeast infection, it is not certain that a man having sex with her will contract it.

Indeed, the good doctor claims that sexual transmission of Candida albicans infections is somewhat uncommon.

What can make a man more susceptible to infection is prolonged antibiotic use.

As we know this is due to the fact that the probiotic bacteria which inhibit the overgrowth of Candida are destroyed by antibiotic use, leaving the yeast cells free to flourish.

Furthermore, he observes that men who have diabetes or some kind of immune system deficiency, in particular HIV, are more susceptible to yeast infections in men.

He then emphasizes that the signs and symptoms include a reddish rash, and a feeling of itching or burning on the glans of the penis.

He recommends monistat as an over-the-counter remedy, to be used twice daily for a week. Even so, the fact remains that if a man and his partner both have symptoms of Candida albicans infection, it’s important that they both receive treatment, because otherwise the possibility of constant reinfection may occur.

It’s also a good idea to avoid sexual contact until the infection has completely cleared up in both partners.

Thrush is another name for Candidiasis.

As discussed before, it usually affects the head of the penis, or the glans penis, in men, and is responsible for inflammation, pain on urination, and occasionally the classic whitish discharge which is often likened to cottage cheese.

Candida albicans and other yeast species can also affect the skin, a condition known as Candidal skin infection; this may occur inside the mouth, in which case the condition is known as oral thrush.

The British National Health Service website says that if think you may have contracted thrush (infection with Candida albicans) for the first time, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to ensure that the diagnosis is made correctly, and to avoid the possibility of a sexually transmitted infection being missed.

Once you’ve had thrush, you will be able to treat the condition yourself, using over-the-counter medication or suitable home remedies for yeast infection.

However, those who have a weakened immune system, particularly those who are suffering from HIV infection, need to ensure that they get medical treatment to avoid a more serious case of invasive candidiasis. We’ll look at this in more detail in a moment.

As we’ve already observed, you can treat thrush without prescription. Just as well, really, since it’s not actually necessary to have sex to contract the condition.

For example, even something as simple as using shower gels or soaps that contain perfumes and astringent chemicals may cause irritation of the skin sufficiently serious to allow Candida infection to develop.

It stands to reason that using plain soaps or shower gels, and wearing loose fitting cotton underwear which avoids the buildup of moisture and heat, are both sensible precautionary measures to avoid yeast infections in men.

While Candida albicans occurs naturally on your body, it favors warm moist areas, so people who are obese and have massive skin folds are more likely to develop the condition.

And, as previously mentioned, type I diabetes or type II diabetes are factors that should make you pay attention to your health: the high level of glucose in the bloodstream and the increased level of sweating which people with diabetes tend to experience may both promote the growth of the yeast fungus.

Invasive candidiasis

This is a serious problem, because Candida albicans can spread quite quickly through the body, and affect many of the bodily organs.

The risk factors for invasive candidiasis include HIV infection, type I or two diabetes, taking any kind of immunosuppressants, which are drugs used to stop the body rejecting transplanted organs, or undergoing high dose radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

It’s also linked to having a central venous catheter implanted into your chest, the system used for injecting high levels of medication on a long-term basis. And men and women having kidney dialysis are also somewhat at risk from invasive candidiasis.

The symptoms include a high temperature or fever, shivering, nausea, and headache.

The simple fact is that if you know you are at risk from invasive candidiasis you must get help immediately if you develop thrush or any of the above symptoms develop. This is actually a medical emergency, and in some cases may require admission to hospital as a preemptive measure against yeast infection that can kill a man.

The Mystery of Candida albicans Infection In Men

Why mystery? Well, because a lot of enlightened practitioners, both medically qualified and not, have written on the Internet about the role yeast infections may be playing in chronic health conditions.

The observation that people with chronic health conditions can get completely different diagnoses from different medical practitioners is an interesting one, because what it implies is that there is a common factor work that may be universal, but which is not recognized.

The Yeast Connection is a website that specializes in Candida albicans information, not just yeast infection in men, but nonetheless you will find it useful, as well as offering a yeast infection home remedy program.

Dr Crook, the author of the website and several books on the relationship between health and Candida albicans, also provides an evaluation quiz which is designed to assist in revealing whether or not you actually have an infection of Candida albicans.

This questionnaire has only 10 questions, but offers a high degree of certainty about whether or not you actually are suffering from yeast infections.

It starts with a question about whether or not you’ve taken repeated or prolonged courses of antibacterial drugs. Then it moves all the way through a series of questions covering your general health and any  sense you may have of being “sick all over”. It also asks about hormonal disturbances, memory or concentration problems, your use of steroids, and the state of your skin health, including whether or not you experience any itching.

In fact, it’s a fairly good way of diagnosing yeast infection in men.

By scoring the answers to the questions, you can come up with a score which dictates whether or not your health problems are likely to be yeast related.

One success story which is recorded on the website — that is to say, an account of one man who successfully dealt with a male yeast infection using home remedies — recounts the development of serial infections of yeast overgrowth, and familiar symptoms of sugar cravings and carbohydrate loading.

Other notable symptoms included prolonged bouts of athlete’s foot and jock itch, nausea, lethargy, and sinus drainage.

While the man’s doctor was, we are led to believe by implication, unsympathetic, simply suggesting the use of over-the-counter topical treatments, he did prescribe a course of antibiotics as being necessary for the sinus drainage problem and the bacterial infection.

The antibiotics, perhaps naturally, made the infection worse. In response to this, the doctor prescribed even stronger antibiotics.

It was only at an annual physical review that the doctor noticed the man’s toenails were yellow and acknowledged that he did indeed have a fungal overgrowth.

Sporonox was eventually prescribed for the fungal infection, producing a resulting improvement in the man’s health so astounding that the patient became convinced yeast infection was a major problem.

With these tablets, the athlete’s foot and jock itch disappeared, the energy level the man enjoyed went through the roof, and his sinus drainage stopped completely.

The doctor was hidebound in his belief that yeast infection in men was the domain of people with HIV, and so the man couldn’t possibly have yeast overgrowth.

The man then decided to do some research and developed a diet regime which was designed to overcome yeast infection and promote good bacterial growth, using probiotics.

Almost every doctor that the man consulted subscribed to the belief that yeast infections can’t happen in otherwise healthy men, an attitude which seems to be all too common.

There is a considerable weight of circumstantial evidence on the Internet that yeast infection in men is just as big a problem as it is in women.

This also applies both to the common or garden jock itch and athlete’s foot as it does to a more pervasive infection of the body with Candida albicans.

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