Male Yeast Infections

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. 

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.

You’re more likely to get a yeast infection if 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.

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
  • Redness
  • 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
  • Trouble peeing
  • 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.

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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
  • 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. 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.

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
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on July 16, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

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

University of Iowa Hospitals &

Harvard Health Publishing: “Balanitis.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Balanitis.”

Urology Care Foundation: “What Are Yeast Infections?”

StatPearls: “Balanitis.”

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.”

: “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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