What Are Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Males?

Reviewed on 9/2/2020

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection refers to a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans.

Candida is common and most people have some living on the skin and inside the body, such as in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, and usually does not present any problems. 

When candida grows out of control it can cause infections. While yeast infections tend to refer to candidiasis in the vagina in women, yeast infections can also occur in males. 

What Are Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Males?

A yeast infection in males can occur on the penis, and symptoms may include:

  • Itching or burning on the tip of the penis or the foreskin
  • Redness or a red rash on the penis
  • Itching and burning sensation on the penis
  • Moist skin on the penis
  • Swelling around the tip of the penis and foreskin
  • Discharge that looks like cottage cheese that may have a bread-like or unpleasant smell
  • Sores or white patches of skin
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
  • Difficulty urinating or controlling the urine stream
  • Problems getting or keeping an erection

If untreated, yeast infection in males can develop into a condition called balanitis. Symptoms of balanitis include: 

  • Redness, swelling, itching, and soreness of the head of the penis
  • Pain on urination
  • Thick discharge from under the foreskin
  • Bleeding around the foreskin
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin in adult males (it’s normal for children to have tight foreskin)

What Causes Yeast Infection in Males?

Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. Most people have a small amount of candida on or in the body, but when it grows out of control it can develop into an infection. 

Causes of yeast infections in males include

Risk factors for developing a yeast infection include

How Is Yeast Infection in Males Diagnosed?

To diagnose a yeast infection in males, a doctor will perform a physical exam. 

They may also swab some of the substance that forms on the tip of the penis to send to a lab for testing.

What Is the Treatment for Yeast Infection in Males?

Treatment for yeast infection in males usually includes topical antifungal ointments and creams. Many of these are available over-the-counter (OTC), such as

  • Miconazole (Lotrimin AF, Cruex, Desenex, Ting Antifungal)
  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Anti-Fungal, Cruex, Desenex, Lotrimin AF Ringworm)
  • Imidazole (Canesten, Selezen)

Because symptoms of yeast infection on the penis may resemble other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it is important to have a diagnosis confirmed by a doctor before using over-the-counter medications. 

If the yeast infection is severe or does not clear up with over-the-counter preparations, oral fluconazole (Diflucan) and a hydrocortisone cream may be prescribed.

For uncircumcised men who do not respond to treatments or have recurring yeast infections, circumcision may be recommended.

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What Are Complications of Yeast Infection in Males?

Complications of a penile yeast infection include:

  • Balanitis is inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis
  • Untreated balanitis can result in scarring of the foreskin or adhesions on the penis
  • It can cause painful and difficult urination
  • It may result in weakness and fatigue
  • Yeast infection may enter the bloodstream (candidemia or invasive candidiasis)

How Do You Prevent Yeast Infection in Males?

Yeast infection in males may be prevented by: 

  • Cleaning the penis regularly 
  • Avoiding perfumed soaps or shower gels on the genitals, which may cause irritation
  • Drying the penis thoroughly after washing 
  • Using a condom while having sex with a partner who has a yeast infection
  • Wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear to prevent moisture buildup under the foreskin

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Reviewed on 9/2/2020
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