Yeast infection is a type of fungal infection caused by the Candida species, called 'Candida albicans'. Candidiasis includes all sorts of candida infections that occur on the skin, mouth, groin, vagina, feet, etc. The symptoms may vary with the severity and location of the infection. Once the fungi gain entry into the bloodstream, they can affect the bodily systems and cause various symptoms like bloating after eating, constipation, indigestion, diarrhea, memory loss, fatigue, irritability, etc. In some people, especially those with a compromised immune system, this infection may lead to life-threatening complications too.
The fungi that cause yeast infection are naturally present in the human body and are harmless. As the conditions become favorable, they multiply rapidly, causing yeast infection. Though yeast infection is common in females, it is not rare in males. The latter may also develop the infection at different locations, including the genitals. While vaginal yeast infection is very common, men may develop penile infection. In that case, the penis may develop a red rash, itching, burning, redness, and pain. Irrespective of the gender, yeast infection may lead to more serious health problems, if left untreated. Hence, getting the condition diagnosed and treated is necessary to avoid further complications. There is also a risk of spreading this condition to the partner, through sexual intercourse. Proper diagnosis helps to rule out the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases that exhibit similar symptoms.
Tests to Detect Yeast Infection in Males
A practical solution for testing a yeast infection is to watch out for the symptoms, and then consult a doctor to get it diagnosed through clinical tests. Otherwise you may go for home tests, which cannot be relied on completely, as they offer inconclusive results. However, you may try such methods before consulting your healthcare provider.
Laboratory Tests: There are two types of clinical tests used for detecting yeast infection in males. They are microscopic test and culture medium test. In microscopic test, a swab of the affected area is examined under a microscope. A drop of potassium chloride solution (10%) is added to the swab, which dissolves the skin cells and retains the fungal cells. This helps in identifying the candida cells. Another method that is commonly used for diagnosis of yeast infection is culturing. In this method, a culture medium is used to develop yeast colonies out of the sample from the swab that is incubated. The characteristics of the fungal colonies are analyzed to find out the type of fungus that is the causal agent for the yeast infection.
Over-the-Counter Tests: While most of the over-the-counter yeast infection test kits are meant for females, there are some that can be used by men. They include blood test kits that detect presence of antibodies against candida. This kit is really handy and easy to use. All you have to do is to prick your finger for a drop of blood that is required to conduct the test. You will get the results within five minutes, and the test is believed to provide accurate results.
Home Tests: The saliva home test is one of the widely used methods to detect yeast infection in males as well as females. This test has to be conducted first thing in the morning, after waking up, even before brushing the teeth, or having breakfast. Take a glass of water and spit into it. Keep it aside for around fifteen minutes. If you have yeast infection, the water will turn cloudy or the saliva will develop strings that travel to the bottom of the glass. If the saliva floats on the water or disappears eventually, you can rule out the possibility of yeast infection. But if it sinks to the bottom of the glass, then there is a chance of an infection. Even if the home saliva test indicates an infection, you have to confirm it by undergoing clinical tests.
Identify the Cues
- Craving: It is believed that those with yeast infection have a craving for foods loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. They are often found to eat refined, processed, and packed food. By consuming such foods, such people are indirectly feeding the yeast in their body. Such craving could be an indication of the underlying yeast infection.
- Odor: Those affected with yeast infection are often found to have an offensive body odor. Poor-smelling feet and armpits are very common. Bad breath could also be a sign of yeast infection. Apart from that, the tongue may develop a whitish coating, which is not normally observed in healthy humans.
- Itching: The warm, moist parts of the body are more susceptible to yeast infection, which is one of the possible causes of itching. This symptom may also be associated with a red rash. Itching is mostly experienced in locations, like genitals, armpits, scalp, hands, feet, etc.
Yeast Infection in Males - Symptoms
Identifying the symptoms of yeast infection may prove beneficial for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Symptoms of yeast infection in males may vary according to the type of infection. In most cases, the condition goes detected, unless the affected people develop severe symptoms. These fungi can cause both direct and indirect symptoms. Those with yeast infection may experience digestive problems, like bloating, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, irritable bowel, abdominal pain, etc. Their skin may develop a red rash, itching, dryness, liver spots, etc. Joint pain, muscle aches, numbness are also common. They are also found to suffer from insomnia, depression, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, and irritability. Sexual dysfunction, menstrual problems, bladder infections, hormonal imbalance, etc., are experienced by women who have yeast infection. In case of males, penile infection is manifested with symptoms like burning sensation, pain, redness, rash, blisters, and itching in the penis during sexual intercourse or urination. Rarely, some of the infected people develop a whitish discharge from the penis. This condition may sometimes lead to prostate problems too. In case of oral yeast infection, lesions appear in the mouth. These creamy-white lesions are slightly raised, and usually appear on the inner sides of the cheeks, gums, tonsils, or esophagus.
The most common causes for yeast infection in males include a weak immune system, regular use of antibiotics, and diabetes. While antibiotics kill the beneficial bacteria (in the body) that hinder the growth of these fungi, diabetes creates a favorable atmosphere for their growth by elevating the urine sugar levels. Penile yeast infection is mainly caused by sexual intercourse with women having this condition. Men who suffer from HIV, underactive thyroid gland, and Lyme disease are also prone to this condition, as they all affect the effective functioning of the immune system. Stress is also found to be a reason for yeast infection in males.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.