Men over 40 who have Type 2 diabetes may face an increased risk for developing penile yeast infections.
Candida yeasts are responsible for 30 to 35 percent of all cases of balanitis.
The term yeast infection generally refers to a vaginal infection caused by the yeast Candida albicans, and less commonly other Candida species, including C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei.
But yeast infections, or candidiasis, can affect other areas of the body.
For instance, a yeast infection of the mouth is called thrush, or oral candidiasis, and a yeast infection of the skin is called cutaneous candidiasis.
Other infectious sources of balanitis include streptococci and staphylococci bacteria, Herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus, and a sexually transmitted bacterium called Mycoplasma genitalium. (5)
Various Candida species, most notably C. albicans, live in the gastrointestinal tract and other warm areas of the body without causing illness.
In fact, about 20 percent of women have Candida living in their vagina and don’t experience any yeast infection symptoms.
Up to 16 to 26 percent of men carry the yeast on the penis.
Penile yeast infections are usually sexually acquired.
Candidal balanitis is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Risk factors that increase the risk of getting a penile yeast infection include:
Immune-suppressing illnesses, particularly HIV
The uncircumcised penis
The warm, moist environment underneath the foreskin in the uncircumcised penis increases the risk of Candida yeast colonization.
Candidal balanitis is strongly associated with age over 40 years and diabetes mellitus.
Men older than 60 years are more likely to have Candida colonization.
Hygiene may also play a role in candidal balanitis development.
Washing with perfumed shower gels and soaps can irritate the skin, potentially helping Candida multiply.
Common symptoms of candidal balanitis include:
Burning and itching around the head of the penis, which worsens after having sex
Redness and swelling
Small papules, which may have pus
Pain during urination or sex
Penile yeast infections are easily treated with antifungal drugs.
In some cases, these drugs may be combined with hydrocortisone to reduce marked inflammation.
Diflucan (fluconazole) is effective for yeast infections.