Whilst thrush in men is less common than in females and babies, the infection is often more distressing for men when it occurs in the genital area. This is because the infection causes Candida balanitis, which is inflammation of the penis. Thrush in men causes redness, swelling, irritation and soreness at the head of the penis. There may also be an unpleasant discharge and pain when passing urine or during sexual intercourse. Phimosis, or difficulty in retracting the foreskin, can also occur.
Causes Of Thrush In Men
Candida infection is more likely to occur when the man has not been circumcised. This is due to the warm and moist environment under the foreskin that promotes the growth of the Candida fungus. Whilst it is not an STI (or sexually transmitted infection) – it tends to be more common in less sexually active men. Thrush in men can occasionally be transmitted during sex if the partner is infected.
The infection can be exacerbated by friction and irritation of the penis during intercourse. And just like in women, thrush in men can be caused by certain perfumed shower or bath products and soaps. This can cause irritation of the penis and increase the likelihood of thrush development. If you are uncertain of the cause, the physician will take a swab from the head or just underneath the foreskin of the penis for laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis. The physician will also check your family history for related conditions.
Symptoms Of Thrush In Men
Symptoms are often not present in the early stages of the infection. It is not until the inflammation or balanitis is present that most men realize they have thrush. The itchiness and soreness of the penis will often be the first sign of thrush in men. Occasionally, small red spots appear on the glans and, in extreme cases the foreskin can become swollen and cracked, probably as a result of yeast allergy. A yeasty smell may occur from the smegma, or cheese-like matter that collects under the foreskin.
Sexual intercourse is best avoided during an outbreak to prevent the spread of infection. Using condoms will stop the infection being transmitted to a partner; however it is important to know that some anti-fungal creams can weaken latex rubber, of which condoms are made.
Treatment And Remedy Of Thrush In Men
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Treatment for genital thrush in men is roughly the same as that for women: an anti-fungal cream or single dose pill of fluconazole. If you are familiar with the infection and recognize the symptoms, this can be purchased from a pharmacy without the need for a medical consultation. A doctor should be consulted immediately if the infection does not improve from the treatment. If the symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe a steroid cream on top of the anti-fungal medication to help relieve the symptoms. Steroid creams should not be used alone if the glans is infected as they can make the infection worse.
A good hygiene routine is essential. Careful washing and drying of the area is important and showers are preferable to baths. Perfumed soaps and shower gels should be avoided as far as possible. Cotton underwear that is loose-fitting will help keep the genitalia cool and dry and prevent fungus that causes thrush in men from accumulating under the foreskin.
As in women, thrush in men responds relatively quickly to the right type of treatment and good hygiene practice. Fortunately, when thrush is treated correctly, it typically has no lasting effects.