While you may think of yeast infections as primarily a problem that women suffer from, penis yeast infections are not that uncommon. What symptoms should you watch out for? What are the treatments? Can they be prevented? Here are the basics about penis yeast infections.
Penis yeast infection symptoms
Penis yeast infection symptoms include:
White shiny patches on penis
Pain, burning or itching at the head of the penis, especially after sex
Redness and swelling
Papules – rash-like bumps that may have pus
Lumpy, thick discharge under the foreskin
Trouble pulling back foreskin
Penis yeast infection causes
Just like in women, yeast infections in men are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. Most people carry Candida, but its growth is kept in check by healthy bacteria. The most common ways for men to develop yeast infections are having bad hygiene and having unprotected sex with a woman who has a yeast infection.
Penis yeast infection risk factors
While any man can develop a yeast infection, several things can make a man more prone to a penis yeast infection. Apart from having unprotected sex with a woman who has a yeast infection, other risk factors for male yeast infections include:
Being uncircumcised, since the area under the foreskin can breed Candida
Failing to clean your genitals or bathe regularly
Prolonged use of antibiotics, since healthy bacteria prevent Candida from reproducing out of control, and antibiotics don’t just kill “bad” bacteria, they kill all bacteria
Having an impaired immune system
Penis yeast infection complications
While a yeast infection may seem simple enough, it can cause potentially serious complications, like:
Balanitis, an inflammation of the head of the penis or the foreskin. Having diabetes increases your risk of developing balanitis. Balanitis can cause scarring on the foreskin or adhesions (the union of two different tissue surfaces) on the penis. Balanitis can be painful, make it more difficult to urinate, and cause weakness and fatigue.
Candidemia or invasive candidiasis is when a yeast infection enters your bloodstream. It’s a very serious condition that may require oral or intravenous antifungal medications.
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Penis yeast infection treatment
Penis yeast infections are usually treated with topical antifungals such as:
Miconazole (Lotrimin AF, Cruex, Desenex, Ting Antifungal)
Imidazole (Canesten, Selezen)
Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Anti-Fungal, Cruex, Desenex, Lotrimin AF Ringworm)
With prompt treatment, a penis yeast infection usually clears up within a week. Serious yeast infections that don’t respond well to topical antifungals may require additional treatment, like:
Oral fluconazole (Diflucan)
Circumcision may be offered as a treatment option to men who are not circumcised that are experiencing yeast infections frequently. While circumcisions are usually done on infants, they can be performed on men of any age.
Preventing penis yeast infections
Luckily, there are several things men can do to avoid developing yeast infections. Some tips include:
Avoid having unprotected sex with a woman who has a yeast infection. If you’ve been having unprotected sex, your partner should be treated as well, even if she isn’t having symptoms. Otherwise, you may pass the infection back and forth between each other.
Keep your genitals clean (including under your foreskin, if you have one) and dry.
Return your foreskin (if you have one) to its usual position after sex.
Wear condoms during sexual intercourse.
Avoided scented shower gels and soaps.
Experiencing symptoms of a penis yeast infection? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a prescription today.
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Cleveland Clinic. "Balanitis: Management and Treatment." Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21186-balanitis/management-and-treatment.
Mayo Clinic. "Male Yeast Infection: Expert Answers." Mayo Clinic, Accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.mayoclinic.org/male-yeast-infection/expert-answers/faq-20058464.
Urology Care Foundation. "Yeast Infections." Urology Care Foundation, Accessed November 3, 2023, https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/y/yeast-infections.