Men can get two types of thrush: Penis thrush and mouth (also called oral) thrush. Both types of thrush come with their own symptoms. These symptoms can be highly unpleasant and cause a lot of discomfort, but luckily they are often treatable.
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Candida albicans is a fungus that lives on the skin and inside the mouth with the body's natural bacteria. At times, candida can overproduce because of a poor diet, consuming too much chlorinated water or from taking too many antibiotics. The candida then tends to overtake the good bacteria and cause inflammation and rashes or penile thrush. This condition tends to strike those men with weakened immune systems: Diabetics, HIV and cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases.
Candida albicans also exists in the colon and digestive tract. Systemic overgrowth may cause many autoimmune symptoms in those with thrush, including joint, hand and muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, irritability, memory loss, depression and respiratory problems.
Mouth Thrush Symptoms
Mouth thrush usually affects the inside cheeks, tongue and roof of the mouth. Common characteristics of this infection include creamy white or yellow spots, pain, itching and sometimes blistering. Also, the lesions can bleed if one tries to rub them off. Another symptom for men with this condition is cracked lips at the corner of the mouth. Thrush can also hinder a man's taste buds. Doctors usually put oral thrush patients on anti-fungal medications (i.e. ointments, lotions).
Additional Oral Thrush Symptoms
Mouth thrush can spread to a person's throat and esophagus. This can hinder a man's ability to swallow food and even drink beverages. Other times, a man can physically swallow food but may have a sensation that he is unable to get food down. Ulcers of the esophagus can be another complication. Doctor's usually prescribe chalky oral suspensions for thrush that spreads to the throat and esophagus.
Thrush of the penis is known as balanitis. This condition can cause itching and inflammation on the glans or head of a man's penis. Other symptoms include red spots and, at times, some discharge. A starchy odor can accompany any of these symptoms. Uncircumcised men are prone to this condition because of their foreskin. Occasionally, they can have a buildup under their foreskin that resembles cottage cheese. Men can spread penile thrush to their spouses or sexual partners. Penile thrush is normally treated with anti-fungal creams and ointments.
Preventing penile thrush entails practicing safe sex, maintaining a proper diet, and exercising regularly. Men should also bathe or shower regularly. Those who have foreskin (uncircumcised men) should scrub thoroughly under the foreskin. For those who have this condition, it is important to wear condoms to avoid spreading it to a sexual partner.