Most people think of fungal yeast infections or Candida albicans (also known as Thrush and Balanitis) as a female issue, however, men frequently develop the condition. Candida in men occurs in the groin area; it can cause soreness, itching, and redness of the head of the penis, scrotum, and foreskin. Often times, small white spots on the penis, burning sensations during intercourse, and transient rashes may identify the ailment. Due to the fact that Candida thrives in warm, sweaty, and irritated skin, uncircumcised men are actually more likely to develop Candida. In some cases, the foreskin even swells and cracks due to the yeast allergy. In addition, not only does, the fungal yeast thrive on the high sugar content found in men with diabetes, it can also result as an allergic reaction to perfumes, dyes, soaps, and shower gels.
There is some debate in the medical and holistic healthcare communities whether or not Candida is a sexually transmitted disease (STD.) The reason being that many people already have a small amount of it in their bodies. It is actually more common in men who are not sexually active, but the infection can be passed on through sex. If a man has a male sexual partner, condoms with nonoxynol-9 added to the lubricant may contribute to anal yeast infection. In heterosexual intercourse, men may develop Balanitis if their female sexual partner has a yeast infection.
Balanitis is treated traditionally with prescription anti-fungal cream and medications, however; alternative therapies are readily available. Because Candida multiplies rapidly in dark and moist environments, clothing which allows for good body ventilation is recommended. All clothing worn next to the skin should be removed and washed after each wearing. During treatment for a yeast infection, sexual intercourse should be avoided; also, any activity which might result in excessive exertion or sweating is not advised until the condition is relieved. After swimming or spending a long amount of time in water, bathing suits should be changed as soon as possible. The genital area should be kept clean and showers are preferable over bathing in bathtubs.
Plain unscented soaps are highly encouraged for bathing, as are warm sitz baths infused with several drops of Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia.). On an internal note, drinking pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, diluted with water may keep the urinary tract of the penis clear while the external skin heals. Also, the avoidance of milk, mushrooms, caffeine, sugar and bread is also recommended. Some holistic practitioners suggest the ingestion of raw garlic. One should first seek alternative medical consultation before ingestion, due to the heating nature of garlic and its indigestion-causing properties.
DR. BRIAN MARTIN, D.C., F.I.A.M.A., IS A LICENSED
CHIROPRACTOR AND ACUPUNCTURIST.