Your knowledge of yeast infections is probably entirely based on not-so-sexy commercials on TV featuring a group of women wearing pastel cardigans talking in hushed tones about problems with the private parts of their female anatomy. As a guy, you think it’s something that doesn’t affect you. So, you don’t have to worry about it, right?
You file it in the section of your brain that’s reserved for female issues you don’t want to think about, such as menstruation and childbirth. But, can guys get yeast infections?
You may be surprised to learn that, although it is rare, men can and do develop genital yeast infections. Recognizing the risk factors and learning to identify the symptoms associated with yeast infections can help you avoid sharing this condition with your girlfriend.
Yes, It’s Yeast
Yeast (aka Candida) normally exists on healthy human skin and especially in warm, moist places like the mouth and genitals. A woman can develop a vaginal yeast infection when a new type of yeast is introduced to the genital area or when the amount of yeast increases in relation to the normally present bacteria that keeps it in check, which can happen when she is taking antibiotics or when her immune system is weakened.
When yeast infections occur in women, they might complain of an itching or burning sensation in their genital area or you may notice a thick, white discharge that’s commonly likened to cottage cheese.
His and Hers
Yeast infections are not considered to be sexually transmitted infections (STI) because a celibate woman can develop them, but having unprotected sex can pass them along. A man who has unprotected sex with a woman who has an active yeast infection can get a penile yeast infection. Transmission of genital yeast infections from woman to man is uncommon, but it does happen.
Some men are at greater risk of developing genital yeast infections. If you have used antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, have a compromised or weakened immune system or suffer from diabetes, your chances of getting yeast infections are increased. Of course, having sex without a condom also heightens your risk of transmitting not only yeast infections, but STIs as well.
Symptoms of yeast infections in men include painful swelling and/or red dots at the tip of the penis; itching; white patches on the penis; dry, peeling skin; and pain or burning during urination. These symptoms can also spread to the surrounding area including the thighs, buttocks and scrotum.
It is important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms since the same signs can also indicate the presence of several STIs or more serious conditions. Once the doctor confirms that it is a yeast infection, you can go about treating it.
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Most yeast infections can be treated easily using over-the-counter remedies. For men, these take the form of antifungal creams or ointments that are applied to the affected area for one to seven days. Oral medications for yeast infections are available, but they require a prescription and are usually more expensive.It is important that both the male and female partner have their yeast infections treated to avoid passing the same infection back and forth during sex. Both of you should be sure your yeast infections have completely cleared up before you start having unprotected sex again.
Join the Club
Having a yeast infection is certainly not a pleasurable experience, but it’s really not that big of a deal either. The majority of women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lives and some even get them on a regular basis. It may not make you feel better to know that millions of women feel your pain while you’re experiencing intense itching in your nether regions, but it might help you to suck it up and get through it.