Candida, the genus name for a group of yeast, is a fungus that lives on the skin, in the digestive tract and the reproductive systems of humans. Normally the growth of the yeast is controlled by other organisms, including beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and acidophilus. When the balance of this system is disturbed--by disease, medications, diet or stress--Candida can become a pathogen and grow out of control, resulting in candidiasis. The overgrowth of yeast and the toxins they emit can cause many symptoms, some of which are specific to men.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, a gland of the male reproductive system. Prostatitis can cause groin pain, pain while urinating and difficulty urinating. While the majority of prostatitis cases are caused by a bacterial infection, according to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, candidiasis may also be a cause, especially in immunocompromised men.
The exact mechanism of action on how the overgrowth of yeast causes inflammation of the prostate is not known; however, there are a couple of theories. The increase in yeast may inhibit the immune system from functioning properly, thereby allowing bacteria in the prostate to induce the inflammation. Another theory suggests the toxins the yeast produce may affect the prostate, causing the inflammation.
A Candida yeast infection can occur on the skin of the penis. Most often, this type of infection is passed on to the man through having sex with a female partner with a Candida yeast infection in the vagina. The infection can cause pain, redness, itching and swelling that, if left untreated, can cause the urethra to become constricted. This can inhibit the flow of semen, leading to impotence, which is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection.
In addition, because the prostate gland produces about one-third of the semen excreted during ejaculation, according to PSA Rising, chronic prostatitis can lead to impotence.
Recurrent Fungal Infections
In the case of an overgrowth of yeast, recurrent fungal infections such as athlete's foot and jock itch may occur. These two areas of the body, especially in men, are havens for fungus to grow because they are warm and moist and provide a perfect environment.
Jock itch is typically caused by another fungus called Trichophyton rubrum. This fungus, however, will usually cause a rash on both sides of the groin fold and into the inner thigh. The rash will appear red and scaly with raised areas. When the rash also occurs on the scrotum and penis, Candida is most likely the cause.
Athlete's foot is similar to jock itch but occurs on the feet, most commonly between the toes. Although athlete's foot may be caused by other fungi, a systemic Candida infection can cause recurrent episodes of this condition.