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We typically think of yeast infections as a woman’s health problem. But yeast infections aren’t limited to one sex.

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is the general term for any infection caused by a fungus. Yeast infections can occur in many parts of the body, including the mouth, genitals, and between folds of skin. Yeast infections are sometimes called thrush.

Can Men Get Yeast Infections?

Although yeast infections occur more often in women, men can get them too. These infections are usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans.

Candida yeast infections in men often develop on the penis. This can cause painful swelling on the head of the penis.

How Do Men Develop Yeast Infections?

Candida is always present on the skin and in body cavities like the mouth and vagina. It exists in balance with certain bacteria.

A yeast infection can develop when something throws that balance off — like taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Yeast infections are most likely to happen in warm, moist places in the body. That includes the mouth and genital area.

Yeast infections are sometimes transmitted during unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Men who are obese, diabetic, or have compromised immune systems are more prone to getting yeast infections.

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Risk Factors for Yeast Infections in Men

Some men are more likely to develop yeast infections than others. Risk factors include:

  • Having a partner with a yeast infection.
  • Having an uncircumcised penis.
  • Being obese.
  • Using antibiotics.
  • Using steroids.
  • Having a compromised immune system because of cancer treatment or HIV.
  • Having diabetes.
  • Practicing poor hygiene.

What Are Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Males?

Symptoms of a penile yeast infection include:

  • Blotchy rash with white patches on the penis.
  • Soreness and itchiness.
  • Dull red skin.
  • Swelling and irritation.
  • A lumpy, bad-smelling discharge under the foreskin.
  • A tight foreskin that’s difficult to pull back.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Pain when urinating.

How Does a Yeast Infection Affect a Man?

A yeast infection can be worrisome and uncomfortable. But it is rarely a serious condition. Your doctor will recommend medicine that should clear up your yeast infection in 1 to 2 weeks.

You should avoid having sex until the infection has cleared up, so you don’t infect your partner. This also prevents your partner from passing the infection back to you.

How Can Men Prevent Yeast Infections?

Most yeast infections are minor and clear up quickly with proper treatment. Here’s how to avoid getting a yeast infection:

  • Practice good hygiene, especially if you’re not circumcised.
  • Wear a condom.
  • Don’t have sex with your partner if she has an active yeast infection.
  • Keep diabetes under control.
  • Lose weight if you need to.
  • Avoid tight clothing and underwear.
  • Change out of wet clothing (including sweaty workout gear) as soon as possible.
  • Dry your penis well after showering or bathing.

How Can Men Treat Yeast Infections?

You should see your primary care doctor or a urologist soon after you notice symptoms. Some signs of a penile yeast infection (genital itchiness, pain, and redness) are like those of sexually transmitted diseases. Your doctor will be able to tell the difference.

In rare cases, an untreated yeast infection can progress to a worse condition called invasive candidiasis. Invasive candidiasis happens when the infection enters the bloodstream. It is a serious infection that can affect the heart, brain, bones, and other parts of the body.

In most cases, however, a yeast infection is a relatively minor health problem. You can treat most yeast infections with over-the-counter antifungal ointments and creams. A doctor can recommend the best one for you.

Sources

NHS, Thrush in Men and Women, Link

Healthgrades, Male Yeast Infections, Link

Urology Care Foundation, What Are Yeast Infections? Link

Medical News Today, How Does Thrush Affect Men? Link

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Candidiasis, Link

NHS Scotland, Thrush in Men, Link

CDC, Invasive Candidiasis, Link

About Urology

The UPMC Department of Urology offers a wide variety of specialized care for diseases of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs. We have a multifaceted team of physicians and researchers working together to provide the best care to both children and adults. Our team is nationally renowned for expertise in highly specialized technologies and minimally invasive surgical techniques. U.S. News & World Report ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside among the best hospitals in the country for urological care.