Categorized | Sex & Health

Yeast of Burden

[couple1] Yeast infections. It\’s definitely not one of those subjects that rolls off the tip of the tongue of the person sitting next to you on the CATA bus. While a yeast infection is most often associated with women and \”women parts,\” do not be fooled. Men can get yeast infections, too.
The infection, otherwise known as candidiasis, is the growing of Candida albicans and other forms of yeast within the vagina. This type of fungus is part of the normal environment of the skin, mouth and intestinal tract. In a healthy vagina, the presence of some yeast may not be a problem. But when a woman’s system is out of balance, yeast-like organisms can grow profusely and cause a thick, white discharge. So where do the men come into the picture?
In order for males to contract a yeast infection of any kind (yes there is more than one) he has to have unprotected sex with a woman who has a yeast infection at the time of penetration. It is extremely rare for a male to contract a yeast infection, but it’s still possible. [yeastquote]
\”I do not know that I would feel comfortable just coming out and asking if someone had a yeast infection – it is kind of a touchy subject,\” said 2005 MSU graduate Jared Eaton. \”I would hope that the girl I am going to sleep with would tell me those types of things beforehand, and if she didn\’t that is what protection is for.\”
Food industry management junior Adrienne Lagrou said she had no idea a man could get a yeast infection from a woman. “I would never have sex if I had a yeast infection and any woman that would is just crazy,” said Lagrou.
Partners have a tendency to give it back and forth because it may not be treated properly or at all. Alex Kardovavich, who is part of the wound team at Sparrow Medical Center said, “Most of the time people assume men just don’t get yeast infections, so when a female has one – if she knows she has one – she will choose not to share this with her partner either out of fear or embarrassment.”
The elements of a male yeast infection, otherwise known as balanitis, are of course a little different than a yeast infection a woman would get, but essentially the two share symptoms and have similar treatment options. “Symptoms of a male yeast infection could range from itching, to irritation, to burning sensations,” said first year medical intern Robert Vaidya. “If these symptoms persist without the individual seeking any medical attention he could potentially suffer from serious, long repercussions.”
When treating yeast infections, be sure to see a doctor before taking something over-the-counter. “It is very important that one seek medical attention at the signs of anything unfamiliar,” said Olin pharmacist Tom Ball. “We would not recommend just coming into the pharmacy and picking up just any medication. It is very important that the person get the proper diagnosis and follow that up with taking the proper medication.”
Medications come in many forms like creams or oral medication. “The patient’s doctor may prescribe an oral diflucan or some kind of cream that would be used to treat a yeast infection,” Ball said. “Depending on symptoms, the doctor might prescribe something different for severe pain as opposed to something else for mild pain and irritation.”
Some males are at higher risk for yeast infections than others. “Older diabetic men, uncircumcised males and males who do not practice proper hygiene are probably the most likely candidates for yeast infections,\” said Rebecca Wolfe, a family medicine practictioner at Sparrow Family Medical Services in East Lansing. \”Men with diabetes can develop yeast infections because the elevated sugar in the urine creates a beneficial environment for yeast.”
Male yeast infections usually appear on the penis near the glands. “If a man has been circumcised the glands tend to be drier but on an uncircumcised male the foreskin is going to have that nice moist ring underneath the foreskin,\” Wolfe said. \”It is out there, and while our body is working to protect us from infection, if something changes in our body then we are more likely to get an infection.”
Yeast infections in men can cause irritation and soreness of the head of the penis, severe itching on the head of the penis, redness color and possibly small blisters on the head of the penis. The symptoms of a yeast infection can strike a remarkable resemblance to Chlamydia. That’s right, an STD. An extensive list of Chlamydia symptoms for both men and women can be found at www.healthline.com. Symptoms of Chlamydia in men consist of burning pain during urination, more frequent urination, pain and swelling in the testicles and redness at the tip of the penis.
Wolfe said that although it is rare for her to encounter many males with yeast infections, it is still possible. “I almost never see male yeast infections. I think I can count the number of men I have treated for a yeast infection,” Wolfe said. “The number is very few because [the genital area] is not as hot and moist and sweaty of an environment on a man.”
According to Wolfe, “If a man lets a yeast infection go unattended for long enough it will not only get into the glands of the penis but it will get up into the opening of the urethra and the pain will be just as severe as having a urinary tract infection.”
Ouch. Keep yeast infections from spreading by using protection when having sex. Because no one deserves that yeast of burden.

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