Candida is an infection caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast that can manifest in both men and women. There are approximately 20 species, the most common being Candida albicans that live in the moist and damp areas of our bodies. In adults, the overgrowth usually manifests as a rash on the skin, which could be on the arms, underarms, lower abdomen, beneath skin folds, and closed or damp areas like the groin/genital area.
Candida yeast infection in men develops due to the overgrowth of Candida albicans. Following are some common causes that contribute to the abnormal growth of this infection.
- The most common cause is the imbalance in the ratio of good bacteria to yeast in the digestive system, which helps the fungi flourish and spread throughout the body.
- Food products like corn, alcohol, peanuts, wheat, barley, etc., are contaminated with molds and fungi which lead to the overgrowth by enervating the body's immune system and eradicating good bacteria through the acidity these food products generate in the intestine.
- A weak immune system due to stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, etc., are other important causes for candida.
- Having unprotected sex can be yet another cause, as the male urethra is totally exposed, making it vulnerable to infection from an infected female.
- Use of antibiotics can also wipe out some of the good bacteria that control the candida population in the body.
- The fungi thrives on sugar-laden food, therefore, if a person is suffering from diabetes, the yeast may grow and spread throughout the body. It may start controlling the digestive system of the body by piercing the lining of the intestine and gradually becoming systemic.
The symptoms are not always instantly apparent. However, the following are some common symptoms that a person may suffer from during the infection:
- Irritation/soreness around the male genital area
- Reddish rash/itching on the head of the penis
- White clumpy discharge from the penis
- Small blisters on the head and shaft
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Urinary disorders, like frequent urination, painful urination, etc.
- Bladder infections like cystitis
Here is a simple test to determine whether a person is infected or not. Early in the morning before brushing your teeth, spit twice in a glass of water and set it aside for 15 minutes. If the spit dissolves completely, there's no risk of infection, but if it becomes cloudy, with strings and sinks to the bottom of the glass, there could be a possibility of infection. After 20-25 minutes, if there's a sediment deposition in the bottom of the glass, the person might have parasites also.
If at any point there's confusion about the home test result, you can consult a doctor for confirmation. The doctor will take a small scraping of the mouth or skin, place it on a slide with potassium hydroxide and examine for a branching pattern consistent with yeast.
Limited intake of sugar rich foods, gluten (grains), yeast foods, dairy products, soy foods, tuna, swordfish, shark, trans fats, and splenda, etc. is the simplest way of treating the infection. Consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits, and clean water that is free of chlorine and fluorides is strongly recommended. The colon cleanse, gives immediate relief by killing the parasite, cleansing the yeast and removing the waste from the colon.
Antifungal drugs or medications, like, azole, nystatin, and amphotericin B can also be used to treat candida. Regular intake of probiotics and some herbs can empower your defense system and prevent the infection. Use of organic coconut oil or coconut capsules and cinnamon bark are also helpful in treating this condition as they destroy the nucleus of the candida cell.
Candida is not fatal and can be cured with proper treatment and precautions. Practicing safe sex, maintaining hygiene, especially in the genital areas, wearing loose cotton clothes, sleeping properly, having a balanced and nutrient rich diet to keep your immune system strong, etc., are some simple methods that can be adopted to avoid the risk of infection and prevent it's recurrence in the future.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.