Can Men Get Yeast Infections?

It’s common for women to get yeast infections, or what doctors call candidiasis. Nearly 75% of all women have had at least one. What you might not know is that men can get them, too.

Causes

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 an inflammation called balanitis. It’s more common in men who aren’t circumcised and have a foreskin that’s still intact.

You’re more likely to get a yeast infection when you:

You can also get a yeast infection on your penis through sex. If your partner has one, they could pass it on to you.

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
  • Redness
  • Discharge that looks like cottage cheese and might have a bread-like smell
  • Trouble pulling back your foreskin
  • A hard time getting or keeping an erection

In severe cases, you may have a hard time peeing or keeping control of your urine stream.

Diagnosis

Since many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) share some of the symptoms of a yeast infection, you shouldn’t try to diagnose yourself. See your doctor. He’ll ask about your symptoms and examine your penis.

Continued

Treatment

Your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter antifungal cream or prescribe one to help get rid of the infection. This goes on the head of your penis and under your foreskin until your symptoms go away, which could take 7 to 10 days. You’ll also need to avoid sex until you’re better.

If itching is a problem, your doctor can also give you a corticosteroid (steroid) cream to offer some relief.

If an antifungal or corticosteroid cream doesn’t clear up your infection, let your doctor know. He may refer you to a dermatologist (skin doctor).

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. The odds are higher when you:

A high fever, chills, upset stomach, and headache are all signs that your yeast infection may have spread. If you notice these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

Prevention

The best way to stop a yeast infection from happening (or coming back) is to practice good hygiene. Clean and dry your penis each time you shower and after sex. Unscented soaps are best.

When your partner has a yeast infection, use a condom during sex.

Wear loose cotton underwear. This prevents moisture from building up under your foreskin. If your groin gets too moist, it’s easier for candida fungus to grow there.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on January 30, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: “Fungal Diseases: Genital/Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC).”

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: “Vaginal Yeast Infection.”

Mayo Clinic, “Male Yeast Infection: How Can I Tell If I Have One?”

NHS Choices: “Thrush in Men -- Symptoms.”

Clinical Microbiology Reviews: “Candida Infections of the Genitourinary Tract.”

Medscape: “Balanitis Clinical Presentation.”

Center for Young Women’s Health: “Can Yeast Infections be Passed on From a Woman to a Man During Sex?”

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre: “Balanitis.”

Health Service Executive: “Candidiasis, Men.”

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