Candida in humans is caused by the same pathogen that infects women, ie the fungus Candida albicans. At the genital level, however, this fungal infection causes different manifestations in the two sexes: while in women it is typically associated with vulvovaginitis with whitish losses, in humans it can give rise to balanitis (an inflammation of the glans). On the other hand, both sexes are manifested in other districts, such as the characteristic rash and the so-called thrush (or oral candidiasis).
When the disease is symptomatic, the diagnosis of candida is quite simple, because the signs of infection are unequivocal. However, in some cases, further tests could be needed, such as blood or urine tests.
To treat candida in men (as well as in women), antifungal medications are needed, such as imidazole derivatives and triazoles.
The brief reference to what is candida
Candida (or candidiasis) is a fungal infection (or mycosis ) caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This microorganism loves to live in humid and warm environments of the human body, such as the mouth (mucosa of the oropharyngeal tract), the gastrointestinal tract and the genitals ( vagina and glans).
HOW DOES CANDIDA ALBICANS PROVOKE CANDIDA?
Candida albicans is, in fact, a generally harmless fungus, as its proliferation is kept under control by:
- The so-called ” good bacteria ” present in the human organism and constituting the bacterial flora.
- The immune system, or the defensive barrier, erected by the body against pathogens present in the external environment (viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.).
When these two control mechanisms fail, the Candida albicans fungus begins to multiply, giving rise to the aforementioned pathological condition known as candida or candidiasis.
Contrary to what is thought, candida affects not only women but also men.
What is candida in a man?
Candida in humans is the male variant of fungal infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans. At the genital level, it causes disorders at the level of the penis and its top (glans), but not only; sometimes, in fact, similarly to what happens in female candidiasis, it can also affect the skin and the mucosa of the mouth (if not also the entire oropharyngeal tract ).
The differences between the two sexes therefore only concern genital manifestations, generally more evident in women.
To determine candida in men (as well as in women) is the loss of effectiveness of the defensive mechanisms that avoid an excessive proliferation of the fungus Candida albicans. But what are the most common specific causes of male candida?
CAUSE OF CANDIDA IN MAN
As in the woman, the candida in the man can rise because of:
- A numeric decline in “good bacteria”, present in the human body. This usually occurs after excessive intake of antibiotics.
- Bad personal hygiene. An approximate drying of the penis (or vagina, in the case of a woman), after a shower or bath, creates an ideal habitat for the proliferation of the fungus Candida albicans, which prefers damp and warm environments.
- Use of incorrect intimate detergents. Poor quality soaps and gel-showers can irritate the penis (or vagina, in the case of a woman) and encourage fungal multiplication.
- Suffering from AIDS or immunosuppression. In both cases, the immune system is weak and ineffective. This weakness allows pathogens to multiply more easily and reduces the chances of recovery.
- Suffering from diabetes. In diabetic individuals, the high amount of glucose in the blood ( high blood sugar ) favors the multiplication of the Candida albicans fungus, as it represents, for the latter, an important source of nourishment.
- Sexual intercourse with an infected person. It is possible that a healthy individual, after sexual intercourse with a candida patient, becomes ill with the same disease.
- Obesity. The skin folds formed by the fat rolls represent an ideal environment for the multiplication of the Candida albicans fungus. Therefore, obese people are more at risk of candidiasis.
ํYeast Infection in Men Symptoms
The male candid can express itself at different levels: it can, in fact, affect the penis, the surface of the skin and the mucosa of the mouth.
- When it involves the penis, it gives rise to a particular inflammation of the glans (the terminal part of the penis), known with the term balanitis.
- When it hits the skin, it causes the onset, in certain points of the body, of an itchy rash and characterized by small red spots.
- When, finally, compromises the good health of the mouth, determines the so-called thrush or oral candidiasis
NB: rash and thrush are two typical expressions of candida and do not depend on sex. Therefore, they take place, in the same way, even among women.
MALE CANDIDA AT THE LEVEL OF PENIS
At the genital level, candida in men causes inflammation of the glans, also called balanitis.
The classic signs of balanitis are:
- Redness and swelling
- Irritation and itching
- Ulcerative lesions associated with whitish, dense, lumpy and foul odor secretions
- Phimosis (or narrowing of the foreskin)
- Pain and bleeding during urination
- Pain during sexual activity
In some situations, it is possible that, following balanitis, the inguinal lymph nodes swell and become painful to the touch. There are, however, the cases completely asymptomatic (in which the symptoms are minimal and hardly recognizable).
MALE CANDIDA AT LEVEL OF SKIN
On the skin, the male candida can cause a rash (or rash or exanthema ), characterized by itching, burning, pain and small red spots.
Furthermore, it can also result in the secretion of a yellowish-white substance, similar to a curd.
The classic areas involved are the anatomical areas where there are two distinct skin surfaces that come into contact, such as in the armpits, in the groin, in the interdigital areas (ie between the fingers), in the fat rolls and in the cutaneous region between genitals and anus.
Why do certain anatomical areas stimulate the multiplication of Candida albicans?
As we have said, the candida mushroom loves to live in warm and humid environments.
In particular areas such as underarms or between two rolls of fat, there are ideal temperatures and humidity levels for the multiplication of Candida albicans.
MALE CANDIDA AT THE LEVEL OF MUCOSA BUCCAL
In the mouth, the proliferation of Candida albicans may result in the appearance of whitish, milky, pinpoint, lenticular or confluent plaques. The areas of the mucosa that may be affected are the language (almost always) and the palate (only in some circumstances); moreover, especially in the case of serious diseases of the immune system (AIDS, lymphomas, etc.), the esophageal mucosa may also be affected.
In addition, the patient with oral candidiasis (or thrush ) can complain of burning, difficulty swallowing (therefore feeding) and lack of perception of flavors.
Causes and most common risk factors for oral candidiasis:
- Excessive use of antibiotics
- Use of dental prostheses
- Immunodepression, caused by serious diseases such as AIDS
- In addition, the patient with oral candidiasis (or thrush ) can complain of burning, difficulty swallowing (therefore feeding) and lack of perception of flavors.
WHO CAN YOU REQUEST?
If the symptoms occur on the genital level, it is advisable to consult a doctor who specializes in infections of the genitourinary system.
If the symptoms occur only in the mouth or on the skin, the consultation of your doctor may suffice.
Individuals with a weak immune system ( immunosuppressed ), when they become ill with candida, are at risk of invasive candidiasis.
Invasive candidiasis occurs when the Candida albicans fungus spreads in the patient’s blood. Given its seriousness, it is considered a medical emergency to which immediate relief must be given.
WHO ARE PATIENTS AT RISK?
The people most at risk of invasive candidiasis are:
- AIDS patients and diabetes patients, for the reasons already mentioned above.
- Those who take immunosuppressive drugs. This is the case, for example, of individuals undergoing an organ transplant.
- Those who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy sessions. This is the case, for example, of cancer patients.
- People with a central venous catheter. The central venous catheter is a medical device that is used, in long-term therapies, to administer fluids, drugs and everything the patient needs. It is inserted into a venous vessel passing through the thorax.
- Subjects who must periodically resort to dialysis, due to insufficient renal function
Given the risks involved, diabetics and dialysis (ie those who have to resort to dialysis) are advised, when they become ill with candida, a precautionary hospitalization. This guarantees them a better cure of the fungal infection.
Diagnosis candida in men
To diagnose candida in men (as well as in women), an accurate physical examination can be sufficient, during which the doctor analyzes the symptoms, signs and clinical history of the patient (diseases suffered in the past, current illnesses, etc.).
Additional diagnostic tests, such as blood or urine tests, may be necessary when:
- The symptoms are very serious
- The symptoms persist despite the treatments implemented
- The patient is subject, without a clear reason, to recurrent episodes of candida
- There is a doubt that the patient may suffer from an undiagnosed form of diabetes or some sexually transmitted disease.
IF THE PATIENT HAS ALREADY CANDIDA SUFFERED
Usually, diabetic people or with a weak immune system (immunosuppressed) are the victims of recurrent episodes of candida.
If, however, the reason for the recurrence is not clear, further diagnostic tests are needed, such as blood tests, urinalysis and a cutaneous and/or buccal swab.
IF THE PATIENT HAS NEVER SUFFERED CANDIDA
Patients who have never suffered from candida should be examined carefully by the doctor, who, in addition to observing the symptoms, also analyzes the clinical history.
The information emerging from clinical history can be fundamental to understand the precise causes of candidiasis and establish the most appropriate therapeutic treatment.
If the doctor had doubts or thought possible the presence of a serious disease not yet diagnosed (such as diabetes, immunosuppression etc.), can resort to the above-mentioned examinations, ie cutaneous and/or buccal swab, blood analysis and analysis of urine.
WHAT SHOULD THE PARTNER OF A PERSON WITH CANDIDA DO?
Men with candid balanitis may have been infected by their infected partner.
In such circumstances, it is a good rule for the woman to undergo the same examinations as the partner/husband and start the same treatments.
Yeast Infection in Men Treatment
To treat candida in men (as well as in women), they need specific anti-fungal medicines.
For the buccal and cutaneous manifestations, preparations based on imidazole are used. For balanitis, however, a more powerful product is needed, but with similar effects, known as fluconazole; the same fluconazole is prescribed in cases of very serious and persistent candida.
From the point of view of hygiene and sexual activity, we need to pay close attention to some rules and to assume some healthy behaviors.
DERIVATIVES OF THE IMIDAZOLE
Imidazole derivatives are anti-fungal drugs, which act by destroying the cell membrane of fungi. They are administered topically (ie directly where the infection occurs) and can be prepared in different ways: on the market, in fact, they exist in the form of creams and oral gels.
The most used imidazole derivatives are: clotrimazole , econazole , ketoconazole and miconazole .
Among the side effects, it is necessary to point out the burning after their application. If this feeling becomes unbearable and evolves into severe skin irritation, it is best to immediately contact your doctor and get alternative treatment advice.
If the rash and the associated pruritus are very intense, the doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroids in addition to imidazole derivatives.
Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, which, in the case of prolonged assumptions, can cause various side effects.
Fluconazole is a drug belonging to the triazole family, also having antifungal power. It can be administered on the following occasions:
- When candida occurs on the genital level, with the classic symptoms of balanitis
- When the cutaneous and buccal symptoms persist even after a two-week treatment based on imidazole derivatives.
Fluconazole is taken orally, using tablets. Once in the body, the antifungal drug works against certain enzymes that Candida albicans uses to reproduce and survive. In other words, it destroys molecules essential for the reproduction of the fungus.
CARE OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL HYGIENE
Candida in humans also takes care of personal hygiene. It is, in fact, essential to use good quality cleansers (which do not irritate the skin) and have the foresight to dry, after a shower, all the anatomical areas in which the fungus Candida albicans (therefore, genitals, armpits, etc.) can multiply.
Finally, to keep the private parts dry, it can be very useful to wear wide underpants and not to buy.
AVOID SEXUAL REPORTS
Despite the use of condoms strongly limits the transmission of candida, doctors advise to avoid sexual relations with their partner for the duration of treatment and to resume only after healing.
The main measures for the prevention of candida in humans are shown in the table.
- Wash the private parts with quality detergents, which do not irritate the skin of the glans.
- Dry the private parts thoroughly, after each shower/bath.
- Lose weight if you are extremely obese individuals.
- If you suffer from particular diseases (diabetes, AIDS, immunosuppression, etc.), take maximum care of your personal hygiene and avoid sexual intercourse with people infected with Candida albicans.
- Use condoms, especially if the partner is infected or occasional.
- Do not use excessive and unmotivated antibiotics.