A lovely reader by the name of Rashburn asked me this question:
“I’ve had about four yeast infections in my life, each after unprotected sex with one particular guy. Is this a coincidence, or is it possible he’s yeast-basting me? Is there anything he can do to prevent this besides scarf probiotic yogurt and try to keep the peen clean? (He’s asymptomatic btw. No itching or dickcheese.)”
Darling Rashburn, it is possible for men to be asymptomatic carriers of yeast, and it is possible that your friend is yeast-basting you, even without the telltale dickcheese (Davidson, 1977). Men are more likely to have symptoms if they are uncircumcised, but they are just as likely to harbor yeast if they are circumcised (Davidson, 1977). Since a person may be hesitant to go to a clinic and seek treatment for a condition that is asymptomatic, it is possible that circumcised men spread yeast infections around more than their uncircumcised brothas (Davidson, 1977). Probiotic yogurt and proper hygiene can help prevent a yeast infection, but they can’t clear an infection that’s already there, even if its asymptomatic. Recurrent yeast infections in one person warrant examination and treatment of the partner (Oriel et al., 1972). Treatment will probably consist of a single 150 mg oral dose of the anti-fungal drug fluconazole, or perhaps topical treatment with Nystatin for your man (McPhee & Papadakis, 2009). Yeast infections should not be diagnosed by symptoms alone or even by microscopy since other infections can masquerade or coexist with yeast: only culture can confirm diagnosis (McPhee & Papadakis, 2009).
My lovely Rashburn, if it turns out that your fellow is yeast-free, it is still possible that your yeast infections are more than just coincidental. Yeast is part of your body’s normal flora, and it only becomes a problem if it’s given the opportunity. I’m just speculating here, but perhaps this guy’s fluids upset your own vaginal pH balance, or perhaps the fact that the sex you’ve had with him has been unprotected means you take the morning after pill when you sleep with him (oral hormones increase your risk of a yeast infection.) Perhaps you two have long, rough sex marathons and you end up all bruised and battered down there. Or perhaps the timing is coincidental. But I think this guy’s “peen” is the culprit.
On a final note, I’m sorry to provide you with references all the way back from the ’70s, but I suppose that the good ol’ fashion basic yeast infection (as in, non-HIV related) is such old news in the medical community that no one is really studying this topic anymore. Furthermore, it seems that the only people who ever did study the yeast infection are the British. Go figure. I was annoyed to find that my 2009 diagnostic manual and my medical pathology book from 2005 make no mention of asymptomatic yeast infections in men. It’s just something we’re all kinda supposed to know about, since all the research was done in the ’70s. Most of the information here could be obtained by performing a simple Google search, but none of those stupid MD or STD websites (not even the good ones) provide references. You’re just supposed to accept that what they are saying is true.
Not that science is always all that accurate, either. I had to be careful about those articles from the 70’s. I’ll leave you with an amusing example of some of the stuff I found.
From Morton and Rashid in 1977:
“Washing after intercourse by both female partner and consort may be indicated. The wisdom of women liable to recurrences in abandoning nylon tights and pants in favor of stockings or stocking tights and cotton pants or French knickers, should be presented as a reasonable means of prevention. Abandoning underwear completely and wearing a long skirt or kaftan is preferred by some women. The cooperation of the male consort should also be actively sought.”
Davidson, F. (1977). Yeasts and circumcision in the male. British Journal of Venereal Diseases, 53(2), 121-122.
McPhee, S. J. and Papadakis, M. A. (2009). Lange 2009 Current medical diagnosis and treatment (48th ed.). McGraw Hill.
Morton, R. S. and Rashid, S. (1977). Candidal vaginitis: natural history, predisposing factors and prevention. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 70, 3-6
Oriel, J., Partridge, B., Denny, M., and Colemen, J. (1972). Genital yeast infections. British Medical Journal, 4(5843), 761-764.