What Is a Male Yeast Infection?
A male yeast infection is an infection of the area around your penis and testicles caused by an overgrowth of a common fungus we all have on our skin. You usually hear about women having yeast infections, or what doctors call candidiasis. But men can get them, too. In men, yeast infections are also sometimes called penile yeast infection, candida balanitis, or balanitis thrush (a yeast infection in the throat).
Male Yeast Infection Causes and Risk Factors
Candida albicans is a common fungus. You’ve probably got a small amount living in your mouth, digestive tract, or on moist parts of your skin. Women often have some in their vagina. Most of the time, candida doesn’t cause any problems. But if too much of it grows in one place, you get a yeast infection.
You could get this inside your mouth (doctors call this oral thrush) or as a skin infection. Men can also get a yeast infection on the tip of their penis. This leads to balanitis. It’s more common in men who aren’t circumcised and have a foreskin that’s still intact. If this infection makes it hard for you to pee, seek medical help right away.
You’re more likely to get a yeast infection if you:
- Have been taking antibiotics for a long time
- Have diabetes
- Are overweight
- Have a weak immune system (like people who have HIV)
- Have trouble cleaning yourself
- Are sensitive to soaps, perfumes, and chemicals
- Use steroids
You can also get a yeast infection on your penis through sex. If your partner has one, they could pass it on to you.
Male Yeast Infection Symptoms
If you have a yeast infection on your penis, you could have:
- Itching or burning on the tip of your penis or the foreskin
- A moist feeling on the tip of your penis
- Discharge that looks like cottage cheese and might have a bread-like or unpleasant smell
- Swelling around the tip of your penis and foreskin
- Sores or white patches of skin
- Trouble pulling back your foreskin
- A hard time getting or keeping an erection
In serious cases, you may have a hard time peeing or keeping control of your urine stream.
Male Yeast Infection Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and check your penis for signs of a yeast infection. If needed, they may use a swab to take a sample from the tip of your penis to send to a lab for testing. Since many STDs share some of the symptoms of a yeast infection, you shouldn’t try to diagnose yourself.
Male Yeast Infection Treatment and Home Remedies
Your doctor may suggest:
- An over-the-counter antifungal cream or prescribe one to get rid of the infection
- A steroid cream such as hydrocortisone
- An oral medication called fluconazole
If you keep having yeast infections and aren’t circumcised, your doctor may suggest circumcision, especially if your foreskin is very tight (a condition called phimosis).
You can help clear up your infection by:
- Cleaning and drying your penis well, including pulling back the foreskin to wash and dry the skin beneath it
- Managing your diabetes if you have it
- Losing weight if you are obese
- Avoiding any soaps or other chemicals that cause irritation
Male Yeast Infection Complications
If your immune system is weak, there’s a chance that the fungus can spread into your bloodstream. This is a serious condition called invasive candidiasis. Though it is rare, the odds are higher when you:
- Have HIV
- Have diabetes
- Are having chemotherapy or radiation
- Need dialysis
- Are taking immunosuppressants (drugs that quiet your immune system)
- Have a central venous catheter (a tube in your chest that’s used to give you medicine)
Male Yeast Infection Outlook
You should be feeling better and the infection should be gone within 3 to 5 days of starting treatment. If you are not, or if your symptoms come back, talk to your doctor.
Male Yeast Infection Prevention
The best way to stop a yeast infection from happening (or coming back) is to practice good hygiene, including:
- Cleaning and drying your penis each time you shower and after sex
- Choosing unscented soaps and skin products
- Wearing a condom during sex when your partner has a yeast infection
- Wearing loose cotton underwear to prevent moisture from building up under your foreskin