Candidiasis (thrush) is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are many species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans.
Candidiasis genital infection is much more common in women than men, but when it does occur in males, candidiasis affects the head of the penis (the “glans penis,” informally referred to as the helmet) and the foreskin, if present (the “prepuce”).
The rash is also known as yeast infection, thrush, Candida, candida balanitis, candidiasis and moniliasis.
“Jock itch” does not refer to male thrush. Rather, this is an informal name for a different type of intimate fungal infection in men. Medically termed tinea cruris, jock itch affects the skin around the genitals, a groin infection that is caused by different fungi – Trichophyton or Epidermophyton.
Fast Facts on Thrush in Men
Here are some key points about male candidiasis.
- AlthoughCandidanormally lives on the skin and mucous membranes, if there is an overgrowth it can cause symptoms that vary depending on the part of the body affected.
- While genitalCandidainfection mainly occurs in women, it can also occur in men when it causes an inflammation of the glans penis – balanitis.
- Yeast infection, thrush, Candida, candidal balanitis, candidiasis and moniliasis are other names that are used for the rash.
- Yeasts can live on any part of the body, but they most like to exist in warm, moist body areas such as the mouth, vulva, vagina, armpit, under the breasts, skin-folds, between the toes and behind the foreskin.
- Risks that make candidiasis more likely include antibiotics, corticosteroids, immunosuppression, diabetes, poor hygiene, using too many cleansing products.
- Genital candidiasis is not considered to be asexually transmitted infection, although sexual transmission of Candida can occur during vaginal intercourse.
- In uncircumcised men, the moist, warm space underneath the foreskin is thought to promote yeast growth. It is reported to occur more frequently when hygiene is poor, but this is not always seen in practice.3
- Symptoms may include an itchy rash, red skin, swelling, irritation and itching around the head of the penis, lumpy discharge under the foreskin or pain when urinating and during sex.
- Oral or local antifungal treatments can be used to treat candidiasis.
- Thrush can be prevented and managed with good hygiene since yeast infections thrive in moist, warm places.
Causes of male candidiasis
Candidiasis is caused by a yeast fungus, Candida. The first description of the microorganism behind the infection was made over 170 years ago, in 1839, by a 29-year-old university lecturer called Bernhard von Langenbeck. He went on to become one of the most prominent surgeons of the 19th century.
Candida albicans, the thrush yeast. Left: in harmless cell form; Right: in disease-causing form with cells producing hyphae that penetrate tissue. Courtesy: Jim Deacon, The University of Edinburgh
Dr von Langenbeck described the species of fungus Candida albicans. This is the Candida yeast that is most commonly found in candidiasis although other species can also be involved in the fungal infection (Candida glabrata, for example).
Candida fungi are found naturally inside the body and on the skin – it is normal for the microbe to be there. Every human being is colonized by the fungus – but at levels that do not usually cause problems. There is evidence of yeast on the penis in up to a fifth of men who do not have any signs or symptoms of balanitis.
Candida albicans causes problems only under certain conditions that allow it to thrive and grow to numbers that result in candidiasis with the fungal cells producing hyphae, structures that penetrate the tissue.
Our immune system and natural ecology of bacteria normally keep the fungal population in check, but if this balance is disturbed, the fungus can thrive. An example of this is commonly seen with newborn babies that can be affected by thrush while they develop a balanced microbial flora.
Men’s sex performance can be affected by erection and ejaculation problems, collectively known as male sexual dysfunction.The following risk factors make candidiasis more likely:
- Antibiotics – recent broad-spectrum antibiotics use, which causes a change in the balance of the normal microbial flora. This upsets the balance and allows the Candidato overgrow
- Taking medication that suppresses the immune system such aschemotherapyor corticosteroids
- Immunosuppression – weakened immunity reduces the body’s defense against the fungus and so allowsCandida to thrive. HIV infection is one example of something that weakens the immunity
- Diabetes, particularly if poorly controlled. Higher levels of blood sugar allow a more conducive environment for the yeasts to thrive6
- Uncircumcised men with poor hygiene – men who have not been circumcised have a moist, dark, warm space underneath the foreskin that is favorable for yeast growth
- Personal hygiene. Chronic local irritants such as bath foam, soaps, shower gels, lubricants, etc. can irritate the penis and lead to fungal infection, which is more likely on damaged skin. Not drying carefully after washing is also a risk factor because fungus can thrive on the penis in warm, moist conditions
- Receiving renal dialysis.
Can men get thrush from a female partner?
While genital candidiasis in men – candidal balanitis – is generally sexually acquired, it is not classed a sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD) because it can be present in men who are not in a sexual relationship.
Men who have a female partner with a genital yeast infection (termed Volvo vaginal candidiasis in women) do not need to seek treatment themselves unless they also get symptoms, since sex does not necessarily result in transmission of the fungal infection to men.
Men are recommended to avoid unprotected sex with a female partner until the woman’s infection has cleared up after treatment.
Symptoms of male candidiasis
Most Candida infestation is asymptomatic.
Men with genital candidiasis may experience an itchy rash on the penis.The online skin disease atlas Derm net has a collection of pictures showing a range of example rashes on the penis caused by Candida.
Men with genital candidiasis may experience:
Around the head of the penis:
- Red skin
- Irritation and soreness
- White patches on the skin.
- Thick, lumpy discharge under the foreskin, producing an unpleasant odour
- Difficulty pulling back the foreskin (phimosis).
- When passing urine
- During sex.
HOME REMEDIES FOR CANDIDA IN MEN
Garlic has a number of sulfur-containing compounds that give it natural anti fungal properties that help fight Candida infections.
- It’s a good idea to include garlic in your regular diet due to its many health benefits. You can have two to four raw garlic cloves a day. Crushing the cloves first helps release their beneficial properties.
- If you do not like the taste of garlic, you can take garlic supplements. The dosage usually depends on the severity of the condition, but the general recommendation is 600 to 900 mg daily.
- You can also apply raw, crushed garlic cloves on the affected area.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil works as an effective remedy for candidiasis due to its medium-chain fatty acids like lauric, caprylic and capric acid.
Studies show that these saturated fats have antimicrobial properties that help kill Candida fungi without leading to the development of strains of Candida that are more resistant to other antifungal treatments.
- Apply coconut oil topically on the affected area three or four times a day until you see improvement.
- You can also include it in your daily diet. Start with one teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil daily, gradually increasing the dosage to up to three tablespoons per day.
The probiotics present in yogurt, especially yogurt with live cultures, are helpful in fighting off candidiasis or yeast infection. The Lactobacillus acidophilus culture, in particular, keeps Candida yeast in check by producing lactic acid.
- Make plain yogurt with live lactobacillus acidophilus part of your daily diet.
- To treat a vaginal yeast infection, you can apply it by inserting a tampon dipped in yogurt. Do this two times a day until the infection clears.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another effective natural cure for candidiasis as it has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- For vaginal yeast infection, put several drops of tea tree oil on a tampon and insert it. Replace it every four to six hours.
- For oral thrush, add five to seven drops of pure tea tree oil to a cup of water and gargle with it for a few minutes twice daily until the infection clears. Do not swallow the solution.
5. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil contains a compound called carvacrol that has been found to inhibit growth of Candida yeast. Scientific studies also found that the oil’s anti fungal and antimicrobial agents can be effective in treating as well as preventing candidiasis.
- Mix three drops of oregano oil with one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply it on the affected area and leave it on for a few hours. Do this daily until you see improvement.
- Alternatively, mix three drops of oregano oil in a glass of water. Drink it twice daily for a few days to a week.
- If you are taking oregano oil capsules, take one or two capsules twice a day after meals. Continue the treatment for two to three months.
When purchasing oil of oregano, look for a product that does not contain alcohol and has a high level of carvacrol.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also considered beneficial for treating Candida infections as it helps restore your body’s natural pH balance.
It is also rich in enzymes that help regulate the presence of Candida. It creates an unfavorable environment for the fungi and encourages healthy gut bacteria to balance the flora in your intestinal tract.
- Add one tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. Sip it slowly before a meal. Do this daily until symptoms subside. Symptoms may worsen during the first few days due to the yeast dying off, but you will notice improvement after that.
- You can also apply apple cider vinegar on the affected area or mix one cup of it in warm bath water and soak in the bath for about 15 minutes. Do this daily for a few days.
7. Olive Leaf-OMUZABIBU
Olive leaf is a potent destroyer of Candida yeasts and fungi due to its natural anti fungal properties. Plus, it has active ingredients called oleuropein that stimulate the immune system.
- Make olive leaf tea by steeping one or two teaspoons of the herb in a cup of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drink two to three cups a day.
- You can also take olive leaf extract (250 to 500 mg) three times a day.
When the infection clears, continue to drink a cup or two of olive leaf tea or herbal infusion daily as a preventive measure.
Cranberries contain a compound called arbutin that helps kill Candida albicans.
- Drink a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice two or three times a day for a few weeks to clear out Candida yeast.
- You can also take cranberry tablets two or three times a day.
Cinnamon has been found to be active against Candida albicans due to its antibacterial, anti fungal and anti phrastic properties. Studies also found anticandidal activity when using cinnamon oil against other types of Candida yeast, too.
So, include cinnamon in your regular diet by adding it to your yogurt, sprinkling it on your French toast, or simply having cinnamon tea.
The typical dosage of ground cinnamon bark is one to four grams a day (1 gram of cinnamon is approximately a quarter or one-half teaspoon); the typical dose of cinnamon oil is 0.05 to 0.2 grams daily. Follow this treatment for one or two months.
10. Black Walnut
Black walnut bark contains high levels of tannins that have powerful antifungal and astringent properties. It also has an active ingredient, juglone, which has been found to have moderate antifungal and antibiotic effects. To treat a Candida infection, you can take black walnut extract or capsules according to the directions on the label.
In addition to these remedies, you can help prevent growth or spread of Candida by restricting your intake of foods high in carbohydrates and sugars, which tend to fuel yeast growth in the intestine. Plus, you can take probiotics and probiotic supplements. If the infection does not clear within a few weeks, consult your doctor.
Researched and confirmed by Proficient Muteguya Goodrich.