Yeast infection or Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by the Candida Albicans bacteria present in the body. Although present in small quantities, under favorable conditions (not favorable for the body though), the bacteria can thrive and multiply, causing a significant bacterial imbalance which would with time lead to the yeast infection.
Although yeast infection is more prevalent in women, the chances of men contracting the issue are not very low. However, unlike women who seem to notice the initial symptoms of a yeast infection as and when they start occurring, men may not realize that they have been infected until the symptoms aggravate or start occurring together.
Most of the symptoms of a yeast infection are common to men and women. These include dry flaky skin, redness, red spots, blisters, swelling, itchiness and irritability in the affected area. Other common symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, loose stools, foul body odor, creamy discharge (vaginal in women and penile in men), indigestion, intestinal gas, fatigue, muscle/body pain, irritability and frequent mood swings etc.
Causes Of Yeast Infection In Men
Before understanding how to get rid of a yeast infection and prevent subsequent recurrences, it is imperative that you understand what causes them in the first place. Knowing the basic causes for yeast infections in the body would put you on the right road to recovery and future prevention.
One of the main reasons why men get yeast infections is unprotected sex with a sexual partner who has the infection. The Candida Albicans bacterium can travel from one body to another easily via direct contact and so it would be very easy for an infected person to pass on the yeast bacteria and the infection to his/her sexual partner.
There are also instances wherein a person unknowingly passes the yeast infection to his/her partner sexually, gets his/her infection treated and then has sex with his/her partner, only to get the infection again.
In addition to complete body contact, there are other ways in which a yeast infection can pass from one body to the other. Some of these include oral sex, infected hands (not wearing gloves or cleaning the hands properly after touching the infected region) and infected sex toys that are not cleaned properly after use.
Existing medical conditions like diabetes can potentially cause yeast infections in certain individuals. The yeast bacteria thrive on the high blood sugar levels present in the urine and so can cause the infection to spread faster.
Accordingly, in the case of a person with diabetes, the body would not secrete enough insulin to counter the spiked sugar levels. With little or no insulin left to take care of the extra sugar, the body absorbs the latter into the blood stream. This causes the blood sugar levels to increase, an effect that would reflect in the sugar levels present in the urine that is passed out frequently as in the case of diabetes.
The yeast bacteria present in the groin would consume the extra sugar as food and start multiplying fast, thus leading to an infection within a short span of time. Individuals who contract yeast infections and experience symptoms of diabetes at the same time (for instance, excessive thirst and frequent urination) would not need to have any doubts about where they got the infection from.
Low Immunity Levels
Another common cause for yeast infections in individuals is a compromised immune system that is not strong enough to fight off the infection causing bacteria from the body.The body is usually used to the presence of a small amount of the Candida Albicans bacterium. It is only when the bacterium starts multiplying at abnormal rates that the immune system kicks into action and fights off the bacteria and the impending infection.
A compromised or unhealthy immune system would provide a favorable ground for the yeast bacteria to thrive. In this case, the body would not be able to stop/control the rapidly multiplying bacteria and so would contract the infection for sure.
Certain cases wherein an individual can suffer from a compressed/weak immune system include nutritional deficiencies, increased stress levels, pH imbalance, ongoing treatments for conditions like cancer, AIDs, STDs etc. and existing medical disorders and diseases etc.
Prolonged Use Of Antibiotics
Everyone knows that antibiotics help to fight off harmful bacteria and other disease causing pathogens from the body. However, in certain cases an overdose or extended use of antibiotics can trigger off a yeast infection.
Using antibiotics for longer periods would with time kill the good bacteria present in the body along with the harmful pathogens. This would significantly reduce the number of good bacteria present in the body to ward off infections, illnesses, disorders or diseases.
With few or no good bacteria to chase them off, the yeast bacteria would take over and start multiplying rapidly, causing an infection in the process.
Hormonal imbalances that are either occur naturally or are triggered by external means (like medications or treatments) can cause recurring yeast infections as well. In the case of natural hormonal imbalances, the individual in question would contract an infection as soon as the hormone levels in the body either spike up or reduce significantly.
In the case of induced hormonal imbalances, the individual would contract the infection as soon as the medication or treatment is initiated. For instance, steroidal tablets or medications generally used for the treatment of conditions like asthma, lupus or arthritis can cause yeast infection.
Many individuals who wear tight shirts, pants, shorts or underwear tend to develop yeast infections at regular intervals. The yeast bacteria thrive well under damp conditions. Wearing tight clothing can disrupt air flow to the moist areas of the body like the groin, armpits etc. This can trap moisture in the area and cause the yeast bacteria to grow well.
Clothing made of synthetic materials like nylon and lycra can also trap moisture in the areas of the body where the yeast bacteria usually reside. The damp surroundings would then become perfect breeding grounds for the bacteria which would multiply and cause an infection.
Chemicals Found In Daily Use Products
Certain chemicals found in the products that are used on a daily basis can cause yeast infections. These include substances found in soaps, perfumes, dyes, detergents, deodorants, bath salts, fabric softeners, makeup products and even condoms to name a few. These substances can promote the conditions that are favorable for the yeast bacteria to grow in the body.
For instance, certain condoms contain a substance called nonoxynol-9 or a spermicidal lubricant that can aggravate a dormant yeast infection in addition to causing frequent recurrences. Petroleum jelly used in lubricants can also cause yeast infections in certain individuals.