Like women, men can get thrush, though these cases are less common. Men can get two basic types of thrush: oral (or mouth) and penile thrush. Both of these types of thrush can be identified by their own unique symptoms. These symptoms, though unpleasant and sometimes painful, are treatable.
Candida is a yeast-like fungus that lives on the skin and in the mouth along with good bacteria. Certain things can spur an overproduction of this yeast, including the overuse of corticosteroids and antibiotics, poor diet and even stress. The candida overgrowth can cause erosion of the body's natural bacteria and make a person prone to both types of thrush. People with cancer and HIV are particularly prone to thrush, as are diabetics (because of high levels of glucose in the body).
Oral Thrush Symptoms
Men who get oral thrush often have creamy white or yellow spots on their tongue or along the walls of their cheeks. This condition can also affect the roof of the mouth. These spots can cause pain, but not always. They tend to bleed if rubbed. Some people with oral thrush can have cracked lips at the corner of their mouth. They can also have trouble tasting foods or drinks. Doctors often prescribe anti-fungal tablets or lozenges to treat oral thrush.
More Symptoms of Oral Thrush
Oral thrush can spread into the throat and oesophagus. This can hinder a man's ability to swallow food. This can also cause the sensation of not being able to swallow, though physiologically, swallowing is not impaired. Some men develop ulcers in their oesophagus because of oral thrush. Doctors usually prescribe oral suspensions for thrush that spreads to the throat and oesophagus. However, intravenous medications may be required.
Penile Thrush Symptoms
Penile thrush is an inflammation of the glans, or head, of a man's penis. This condition is called balanitis. Thrush of the penis is typically characterised by tiny red spots and a discharge. At times, the discharge can have a starchy odour. Men who are uncircumcised can get a build-up that resembles cottage cheese under their foreskin. Penile thrush is contagious and can be spread through sexual contact. It is usually treated with anti-fungal creams and ointments.
Both types of male thrush can be prevented by proper dieting, exercise and proper hygiene. Men with foreskin should clean underneath it regularly. They should also wear condoms during sexual intercourse so they do not pass the infection on to their partner.