Diagnosing Candidiasis

Candidiasis is the medical name for thrush and is in reality a fungal infection. It has its origins in the Candida species where all yeasts come from. This infection in men is known as male thrush or Candida balanitis and it is estimated that one in ten men are likely to contact it if they are sexually active.

Causes and symptoms

One cause for this infection is direct contact through sexual intercourse with an infected partner. Also, if your body has been weakened through HIV or diabetes, you are more likely to be infected. Antibiotics are also believed to bring about this thrush as they usually destroy both the good and bad bacteria in the body, leaving it weak and susceptible to infections. Since this type of fungus thrives in warm and moist conditions, not drying your penis carefully after taking a shower or bath could lead to its growth. Certain types of shower gels and soaps could also cause irritation and result in this thrush developing and multiplying.

If the fungal infection is on the head of the penis, there will be red skin, swelling, irritation and soreness. You will also notice lumpy discharge under the foreskin, an unpleasant odour, pain while urinating and during sex. If you have any of these symptoms and have never had male thrush before, you could seek over the counter treatment from your pharmacist. However, if you do not feel better, it is best to make an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP) or visit the nearest sexual health clinic.

male thrush

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Treatment

In a heterosexual relationship, if the man is diagnosed to have male thrush, it is believed that the woman would also be infected as this fungus lives in the vagina too. As such, both individuals are advised to get treatment to prevent the fungus from moving back and forth between both partners.

More often than not, an anti-fungal cream known as topical imidazole is prescribed for this condition. It helps to break down the membranes of the fungus cells and will ultimately clear up the entire infection. One can expect a mild burning sensation when the cream is applied. If the symptoms do not improve within two weeks, your pharmacist will most likely recommend Fluconazole. This antifungal medication comes in the form of a cream and tablet. You will be required to take it in both forms to destroy the enzymes in the cells of the fungus.

In very rare cases, there is the risk of the candida fungus spreading into the bloodstream. This is known as invasive candidiasis and individuals with HIV or diabetes and those undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and dialysis treatment are at risk of being infected by this condition. The symptoms include a high temperature, shivering, nausea and headache. This is when the individual must be rushed to a hospital immediately to avoid the infection from affecting any organs in the body.

Prevention

The best way to avoid getting male thrush is to have good personal hygiene. You are also advised to wear a condom if you are having sex with a partner who has thrush. Alternatively, wear loose fitting cotton underwear to prevent moisture from forming under the foreskin of your penis.

Written by Kat Kraetzer, an experienced blogger working in the health-care industry for many years.

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