How to defunk my junk?
July 30, 2007 6:07 AM   Subscribe

My man crevices smell of yeast but it's not acting like a topical yeast infection. It won't go away and the dermatologist was useless. Helllp!

Gentlemen, a word please. In the creases betwixt thighs and junk there lurks a pungent aroma of what I guess is yeast. It's been going on for years now but doesn't seem to be a yeast infection. Gotta get rid of this embarassing thing as I attempt to reenter the dating pool.

I've seen threads here about foul crotch and ballstank but this isn't really a terrible smell and doesn't make my eyes water like that one poor guy. I don't have anything to compare it to, though. It might not be considered a bad smell if it came from somewhere other than my FREAKING PANTS.

Some possibly useful history: Visited NYC for a few days in the height of summer years ago. Walking everywhere and sweating. After a couple days, my taint felt raw. Pretty soon it was so bad it became a weepy lesion and I could barely walk. Neosporin didn't do much at all. Came home and the doctor said it had been a yeast infection. "On a guy?" I asked. Yep, he said. I thought you needed a mucous membrane for that but no, just a warm, moist, dark area, such as one's junkal region in NYC in summer, walking everywhere. The beasties can just live on skin. I've got maybe 25 extra lbs on me, so that makes the whole area smooshier and more rubby. Happened again a few years ago in steamy backwater Mexico. They gave me clotrimazole and it fixed it.

So those were known yeast infections, raw feeling, painful and terrible red irritation, but I noticed no smell. What I've had for a while now gives no pain or irritation or itch at all, but fingers sent down into the trenches to investigate come away with a very noticeable sweet-ish yeast smell. I don't see how that can't be yeast, but it isn't behaving like yeast.

Before you ask, I do shower daily and give it all a soapy how's-your-father. I wear boxers, fresh ones each day. No foreskin to worry about and it's not on the actual junk itself anyway. Jock itch spray and cream treatments won't banish it for more than a couple days, nor will clotrimazole cream, which is apparently the gold standard. The dermatologist said to use Zeasorb (miconazole) powder, but that didn't kill it either. And he seemed to characterize that more as daily preventive, to keep things dry, than a curative. I don't think something like Gold Bond or baby powder is up to the challenge when the heavy ordnance did nothing.

WTF?! I can't have this. It's an instant DQ in amorous situations. None of the known orifices welcome delegations thusly scented. Anybody know what it is, why I have it, and how I can get rid of it? Bless you in advance.
posted by Bravely Anonymous to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
dunno what it is... but i get that in a slight fold under my gut... after having had a baby.... oh joy.

i wipe it dry after a show and put the antibacterial gel on it.. in australia it's called aquim.. it's the no-wash, hand cleaning gel.. i'm sure it's in your country... wherever that may be.

you could use it on your recurring zit too....

good luck, you poor old infested old thing.
posted by taff at 6:18 AM on July 30, 2007

Give Gold Bond powder a try.
That worked when everything else didn't, so don't overlook it.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2007

You can apply a gel anti-perspirant, like Mitchum, with good effect. Give that a chance to dry after application, and then dust with Gold Bond powder, and you'll be good for hours in the Everglades.

And staying with the program for a couple of weeks will help, too. It takes awhile to gain the upper hand on dormant spores, and the anti-perspirant will become more effective in keeping the area dry after a few days of use. Use chlorine bleach and hot water when washing your boxers, and a separate hand towel for your man parts, which you should change daily, too, to avoid spreading or reinfecting the area.
posted by paulsc at 6:32 AM on July 30, 2007

You've got to get that area dry, super dry, after a shower, and a towel isn't going to achieve that. Use a hair dryer on the cool setting to thoroughly dry all of your nooks and crannies. Then try Gold Bond a try like unrepentanthippie suggests.
posted by kimdog at 6:33 AM on July 30, 2007

i've also had some success with the sanitizing hand cleaning gel 'down there'. worked pretty well in curing the itch, as well as the smell ... but don't overdo it. two or three applications should do it, and then maybe a follow up when you notice the problem is returning. keeping things dry helps a lot, and switching to nylon underwear/shorts when i worked out helped.

and just a warning: it will sting a bit.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:36 AM on July 30, 2007

live yogurt culture
posted by caddis at 6:39 AM on July 30, 2007

Yeah - you've got to dry, dry, dry! Not just the towel. Blow dry on gentle setting, Gold Bond, etc.
posted by tristeza at 6:45 AM on July 30, 2007

I've had this a few times and tried a number of antifungal treatments. But the best thing by far was to, um, go swimming two or three times a week. I know this sounds gross and you'll think I'm disgusting for using the public pool as my personal crotch fungicide, but 30-45 minutes' exposure to the pool chemicals got rid of it completely in a couple of weeks. You don't even have to swim - just be in there and let the soothing waters irrigate your junk. And I'm sure the water's magical powers stopped my own crevice flora getting to anyone else. YMMV if your pool uses different chemicals to mine.

The blow drying thing worked as well. Not in the public pool locker room, though.

One aside: the last time I had this I went to my GP (I'm in the UK) as the off the shelf products didn't work and I'd forgotten about my swimming pool trick. He had me tested for diabetes as this is a side effect, and I was 50lbs overweight at the time. You mention those extra pounds - might be worth thinking about a test, to be on the safe side?
posted by dowcrag at 6:58 AM on July 30, 2007

are you hairy down there? taking a $10 norelco hair clipper and doing some preventive landscaping might help.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 7:07 AM on July 30, 2007

First let me say I don't want to start a boxers vs briefs debate.

I wear briefs and if they are not large enough in the "pouch", my nuts sit against my legs. This causes the area to be itchy and I suppose it never really dries.

If your underwear don't keep absorbent (cotton) fabric all the way up between nuts and legs on both sides, I think it would be a good thing to try some that do, no matter what external shape of underwear you pick.
posted by putril at 7:11 AM on July 30, 2007

Do you have a nearby clothing-optional beach, or a private deck? I've had good luck in the past clearing up some skin issues by exposing them to sunlight. Don't sunburn your parts (maybe you will want one of those knitted penis hats?) but do get the sunlight down into those dark and dank crevices. I don't know if a tanning bed had the same sanitizing effect as real sunlight -- if so, that would be a more private way to go.
posted by Forktine at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2007

If your underwear don't keep absorbent (cotton) fabric all the way up between nuts and legs on both sides, I think it would be a good thing to try some that do, no matter what external shape of underwear you pick.

Boxer-briefs, the kind with a pouch, are the best for this. They make them with both short and long legs; I think you will want the longer legs to minimize chaffing and maximize sweat absorption. There are lots of companies that make them; the Jockey version is called the Pouch Midway Brief.
posted by Forktine at 7:25 AM on July 30, 2007

Have you tried over-the-counter meds geared towards vaginal yeast infections? They're the same thing as in jock itch spray, but can be a bit stronger. Try a seven-day regimen and see how it goes.
posted by Anonymous at 7:54 AM on July 30, 2007

Rubbing alcohol applied twice a day for a week may help.
Word to the wise though: it may sting/burn quite a bit.
Don't use it for more than a week or two because they have some warnings about repeated application to the skin.
posted by jammnrose at 8:27 AM on July 30, 2007

Sounds like a similar condition to my own- a persistent jock itch. It has recurred the past three summers, but I get it under control rather quickly, thusly:
1) Wash your stuff with Hibiclense. I hate the ubiquity of Walgreens, but they have it. After the usual soaping, a splash of that stuff rubbed in vigorously keeps it clean. The stuff apparently maintains some antimicrobial effectiveness after rinsing - it's used to scrub surgeons' hands.
2) Separate towel for the privates. I even keep track, and only a particular towel four times, each time using a different part (top front, top back, etc). Use a white hand towel, and bleach the hell out of it.
3) Powder, always. When first knocking down an infestation, in the evenings Lamisil creme is applied after my evening shower, and then I get up five minutes early and just shower the privates, and dust 'em with Lamisil (orwhat have you) medicated foot powder.
4) Absolutely do not touch your stuff *after* touching/washing your feet without washing your hands in between. Be careful, even, that your feet do not touch the insides of your undies. Low levels of foot fungus, not enough to cause discomfort in the feet, can re-colonize your junk with only one touch.

Pretty much, you're going to have to be an absolute nut about junk cleanliness for the next two weeks - even if it seems like it's cleared up after the first week.
posted by notsnot at 9:18 AM on July 30, 2007

I find continual use of Coal Tar soap in the shower keeps things pretty nice.
posted by dr. moot at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2007

Since the antibiotic stuff you've used only improves the situation temporarily, I'm guessing you are getting reinoculated from yeast which populate your large intestine, just an inch or so away.

You may not be able to evict yeast altogether from your intestine, but you can probably choose the type and therefore at least change the smell, by taking herbal antifungals for a while, such as garlic, and then reseed yourself with a probiotic containing yeast such as kefir. Make sure it hasn't been pasteurized.
posted by jamjam at 10:44 AM on July 30, 2007

I always blowdry those areas just for comfort but I suppose it could also help your situation.

Maybe tea tree oil (diluted) would knock out that funk? It's a pretty potent anti-fungal/anti-bacterial..
posted by jockc at 11:14 AM on July 30, 2007

some things to try:

1) dandruff shampoo (to kill normal skin yeasts)
2) drink kefir (to encourage growth of alternative yeasts)

Vinegar and/or rubbing alcohol are similar to dandruff shampoo in creating a less hospitable environment for yeast.

Sorry to say this (I've been in a similar position) but losing some of the extra weight would help also. Besides changing the skin texture, it also keeps you warmer, causing you to sweat more, which gives the yeast a more attractive environment. In the meantime, stay as cool and dry as possible. If that's too dry for your skin, you can use a fungal-neutral oil such as coconut oil to re-moisturize.
posted by Araucaria at 1:53 PM on July 30, 2007

General warning: watch out on the antibacterial stuff! Some, though few, people have allergies to the chemical (triclosan) in antibacterial stuff, a problem made more complicated by any assumption that one would not be allergic to something that is antibacterial (which I learned the hard way in the course of showering with antibacterial soap after trying to relieve mysterious itching rashes in oatmeal baths).
posted by troybob at 2:05 PM on July 30, 2007

One thing that's important with this sort of thing: you can reinfect yourself really, really easily.

Use some anti-fungal laundry additive when you wash sheets, towels, and underwear. This helps stop the cycle of reinfection. Additionally, keeping the area dry is very important. Consider spending some time at home sans pants or underwear (but sit on a towel or something to prevent creating a possible reinfection site).

Good luck.
posted by ysabet at 4:49 PM on July 30, 2007

Another vote for:

- Dry thoroughly, with blow dryer
- Liberal application of Gold Bond powder (or the generic - Target and Wal-Mart both have versions)
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after application
- Take care with your towels
posted by candyland at 5:08 PM on July 30, 2007

IANAD, and this is not medical advice. If clotrimazole cream isn't working, it's definitely an internal yeast infection spreading out from your guts. If it were me, I'd be getting checked for diabetes. I'd also eat a lot more yogurt (or activia). Lastly, I'd ask my doctor about diflucan as well.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:51 AM on July 31, 2007

Ask about diflucan.

And watch it with the vigorous soaping -- you're going to irritate things further down there.
posted by desuetude at 6:14 AM on July 31, 2007

Again with the magic of vinegar. Add 1 quart to a bath and soak at least 10 minutes. I suppose you could also soak a towel and apply liberally. This was the prescription for my father.

It's gentle on the skin and the budget. It's also good for your laundry, killing whatever may survive a washing.
posted by kc0dxh at 9:24 AM on August 1, 2007

Also check out the many threads on girly yeast here on MeFi. kc0dxh's response reminds me that a gentle swipe with hydrogen peroxide can turn a brewing (ha ha) infection into a non-starter.
posted by desuetude at 12:26 PM on August 1, 2007

Yuck. Diflucan.

I once got an internal (boy parts) yeast infection from my (not yet) ex-wife and had to use that. Caused some digestive issues. Cleared up the problem, which was nice, as the OB/GYN would only describe the alternative as "the fire stick."

Also, the drug's name lead me to all sort of jokes about traditional Finnish cooking...
posted by Samizdata at 8:48 PM on January 10, 2008

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