Can Men Get Yeast Infections

Health Service Executive: “Candidiasis, Men.”

Male Yeast Infections

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 (a yeast infection in the throat).

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. If this infection makes it hard for you to pee, seek medical help right away.

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

  • Have been taking antibiotics for a long time
  • Have diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Have a weak immune system (like people who have HIV)
  • Have trouble cleaning yourself
  • Are sensitive to soaps, perfumes, and chemicals
  • Use steroids

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
  • 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.

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, including pulling back the foreskin to wash and dry the skin beneath it
  • 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. Though it is rare, the odds are higher when you:

  • Have HIV
  • Have diabetes
  • Are having chemotherapy or radiation
  • Need dialysis
  • Are taking immunosuppressants (drugs that quiet your immune system)
  • Have a central venous catheter (a tube in your chest that’s used to give you medicine)

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

Show 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?”

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.”

Male Yeast Infection

A male yeast infection is a fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida. It’s also known as Candida balanitis. Candida balanitis causes a red, itchy rash on the head of your penis. Candida grow and thrive in warm, moist environments such as the foreskin of uncircumcised people. Treatment typically includes an antifungal cream.

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What is a male yeast infection?

You may think of yeast infections as something that only occurs in people with vaginas. But people with penises can get yeast infections too. A male yeast infection is a yeast infection that affects your penis. The medical term for yeast infections that affect men is Candida balanitis. Candida is a type of yeast that causes yeast infections. Balanitis is inflammation or an infection of the head of your penis (glans penis).

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Your skin has many forms of yeast that live on it, including Candida. In healthy people, this ordinarily doesn’t cause any problems. But when there’s an overgrowth of Candida, it can dig below the surface of your skin. This can cause a rash or skin infection. Candida grows and thrive in moist, warm environments. It’s commonly found in damp, creased areas such the foreskin of your penis.

Who does Candida balanitis affect?

Candida balanitis can affect people of any age. About 1 in every 25 people assigned male at birth will develop Candida balanitis in their lifetime. The condition will affect 1 in every 30 uncircumcised people.

Children under age 4 and uncircumcised people have the highest risk of being diagnosed with the condition. Candida balanitis is more likely to occur if you have a condition called phimosis. Phimosis means you can’t pull back (retract) your foreskin over your penis. Once children reach age 5, their foreskin usually becomes easier to retract and their risk level falls.

How common are male yeast infections?

Male yeast infections in men are fairly common. About 3% to 11% of people assigned male at birth will have a yeast infection in their lifetime.

Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms of a male yeast infection include patchy redness, pain, swelling, burning, itching and irritation in your groin area.

What are the symptoms of a male yeast infection?

Symptoms of a male yeast infection include pain, swelling and redness in your groin area. The redness is usually in patches. Other symptoms may include:

  • Burning, itching and irritation around the head of your penis and under your foreskin.
  • Thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese.
  • Foul-smelling discharge.
  • Difficulty pulling back your foreskin.
  • Shiny sores or blisters on your penis.

After having a yeast infection, you may notice your skin peeling. The infection makes your skin more vulnerable. This can make it flaky or crusty and eventually it may start peeling.

What causes yeast infections in men?

A yeast called Candida causes male yeast infections. Candida grows and thrives in warm, moist environments. Candida balanitis most commonly occurs in uncircumcised people. Other conditions and risk factors that allow Candida to grow include:

  • Poor hygiene.
  • Using harsh soaps.
  • Not rinsing soap off your foreskin completely.
  • Not drying off thoroughly.
  • Irritated or damaged skin.
  • Sex partners with vaginal yeast infections.

Yeast infections are more common in certain groups of people. This includes people who:

  • Have a condition that weakens your immune system, such as diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS.
  • Have overweight or obesity.
  • Are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria that normally live in your body.
  • Have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Diagnosis and Tests

How are male yeast infections diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination. They may be able to diagnose a yeast infection by looking at your penis and foreskin. If you have a red rash, they may be able to tell you have a yeast infection.

Your healthcare provider may want to collect a sample of the infected area for testing. They’ll use a scalpel or tongue depressor to gently scrape some of the skin from the infected area. A pathologist will examine the sample under a microscope to identify the fungus.

Management and Treatment

How are male yeast infections treated?

Treatment for male yeast infections may include an antifungal medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend an antifungal cream, lotion or ointment. You can apply the antifungal directly onto the infected area of your skin. You can buy many antifungal medications over the counter. Your healthcare provider may need to prescribe you a stronger antifungal medication if the infection doesn’t go away. Topical antifungal medications include:

  • Miconazole (Monistat 7®).
  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin®).
  • Nystatin (Mycostatin®).

In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend an antifungal medication taken by mouth. This includes medications such as fluconazole (Diflucan®). Your healthcare provider may also recommend using a steroid cream as well to help with your symptoms.

It’s important to keep your groin area clean and dry to help get rid of your yeast infection. This can also help prevent a yeast infection from returning.

If antifungal medications don’t help or you have frequent yeast infections, you may want to consider circumcision. In addition, if you can’t pull back your foreskin to clean it thoroughly, your healthcare provider may recommend circumcision as well.


How can I reduce my risk of getting a yeast infection?

You can prevent a yeast infection by keeping your groin area clean and dry. Other steps you can take to prevent yeast infections include:

  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Don’t use harsh products on your genitals.
  • Pull back your foreskin when bathing to clean and dry the area thoroughly.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have a male yeast infection?

You may be able to get rid of a yeast infection fast at home with over-the-counter antifungal medication. But if the infection persists and doesn’t go away within a couple of weeks, call your healthcare provider. You may need a prescription treatment option.

How long does a male yeast infection last?

A male yeast infection may take some time to get rid of. After you start antifungal treatment, the infection should start to clear up within one to three weeks. But yeast infections aren’t easy to control. They frequently come back in uncircumcised people. If your symptoms persist, call your healthcare provider.

What complications can occur from male yeast infections?

You may be embarrassed, but it’s important to have your yeast infection checked out by your healthcare provider. An untreated yeast infection can cause many complications which may include:

  • Scarring and narrowing of your penis.
  • Pain and difficulty pulling back your foreskin or moving your foreskin over the head of your penis.
  • Issues with blood supply to the tip of your penis.
  • Increased risk of penile cancer.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A yeast infection may be the last thing you want to talk to your healthcare provider about, but it’s important that you do. There are treatments available to help relieve the pain and itchiness that come with a male yeast infection. With the help of an antifungal medication such as a cream or an ointment, you should be good to go. But if not, your healthcare provider is there to help you. Reach out to your healthcare provider today to find the best option for you.

Male Yeast Infection: What You Need to Know

Lana Barhum has been a freelance medical writer for over 14 years. She shares advice on living well with chronic disease.

Updated on October 24, 2022

Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, is board-certified in urology. He is an assistant professor at UCF College of Medicine and chief of surgery at Orlando Health South Lake Hospital.

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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Male yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida on the penis. Candida is normally present on the skin, but overgrowth can occur, particularly in men who are not circumcised, have diabetes, are overweight, or have a weakened immune system.

While some male yeast infections can have no symptoms, others can cause penile discomfort, redness, swelling, and a clumpy, white discharge. Such an infection can be so severe it mimics a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Male yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications and typically clear up in a few days.

This article explains male yeast infections, common symptoms, risk factors, and causes. It also details when to see your healthcare provider and what your treatment options are.

Symptoms of a Male Yeast Infection

male yeast infection

Male yeast infections don’t usually cause symptoms right away. If the infection persists, it can cause discomfort and pain.

An overgrowth of yeast can cause the head of the penis to become red and inflamed. This is known as candidal balanitis. The foreskin may also be infected in uncircumcised men, known as candidal balanoposthitis .

Symptoms may include:

  • Redness and swelling at the top of the penis
  • Sores, cracking, or bleeding on the foreskin
  • Burning sensation when you urinate
  • Itching
  • White, lumpy, foul-smelling discharge
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Small rash-like bumps that may have pus in them
  • Patches of white, shiny skin at the top of the penis

Causes and Risk Factors

Yeast can pass from one person to another through sex. Even so, because balanitis has other causes besides sex, the condition is not considered a sexually transmitted infection.

Other risk factors include:

  • Not keeping genitals clean
  • Not being circumcised
  • Diabetes: Men with diabetes have more sugar in their urine, which helps yeast grow
  • Long-term use of antibiotics reduces the healthy bacteria in the body, which allows Candida to grow
  • Weakened immune system from illness, a chronic health condition, or medication
  • Soaps and skin products that irritate the skin
  • Tight-fitting underwear or wet clothing
  • Hot, humid environments
  • Condoms that contain lubricants
  • Spermicides
  • Being overweight

When to See a Doctor

Men who have never had a yeast infection or who have severe symptoms should see a doctor.

It is also important to see a doctor when an infection does not clear on its own. Symptoms could be signs of diabetes or conditions that weaken the immune system.

Diagnosis and treatment are important, as untreated yeast infections could cause chronic prostatitis—an inflammation of the prostate gland.

They can also lead to:

  • Phimosis or tightening of the foreskin
  • Narrowing of the opening of the urethra
  • Balanitis xerotica obliterans, which causes white, scaly, itchy patches that can lead to scarring
  • Leukoplakia, thickened white patches inside the mouth

If a yeast infection is severe, a swab from around the top part of the penis may be tested. If sores or red spots on the penis do not heal, a biopsy might be needed to rule out cancer.


Most mild yeast infections don’t need treatment.

Antifungal creams or oral medications can help with symptoms. Some of these medications are available over the counter and some require a prescription.

Even though you may feel certain that you have a yeast infection and can easily purchase a treatment at your local drugstore, you should still see a healthcare provider before using an antifungal medication for the first time.


Good hygiene can help prevent and treat yeast infections. Wash your penis regularly with plain warm water. Be sure to dry well after you wash and put on clean underwear. (Candida thrives in moist, warm environments.)

Perfumed shower gels or soaps should never be used on the genitals. It’s a good idea to wear loose-fitting cotton underwear or boxers to keep genitals dry and cool. These steps can help prevent yeast growth.


Compared to cases in women, male yeast infections aren’t very common. They may cause redness, pain, swelling, itching, sores, and discharge from the tip of the penis.

They often clear up on their own, but sometimes require an OTC or prescription medication. It’s best to see a healthcare provider before self-treating if you have never been diagnosed with a yeast infection before or if symptoms worsen.

To prevent a yeast infection, keep your genitals clean, cool, and dry. Avoid products with scents and irritants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a male yeast infection the same as jock itch?

No. Jock itch is caused by a type of fungi known as dermatophytes. Male yeast infections are usually due to an overgrowth of the fungus Candida.

Is a yeast infection an STD?

A yeast infection can be passed through sexual contact, but it is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease because it has other possible causes.

Can a yeast infection turn into chlamydia?

No. A yeast infection is caused by a fungus, while chlamydia is caused by bacteria. However, it is possible to develop a yeast infection after being treated with antibiotics for chlamydia. It is also possible to have both at the same time.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. UK National Health Service. Thrush in men and women.
  2. Morris BJ, Krieger JN. Penile inflammatory skin disorders and the preventive role of circumcision. Int J Prev Med. 2017;8:32. doi:10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_377_16
  3. Wray AA, Khetarpal S. Balanitis. StatPearls.
  4. Jegadish N, Fernandes SD, Narasimhan M, Ramachandran R. A descriptive study of the clinical and etiological profile of balanoposthitis.J Family Med Prim Care. 2021;10(6):2265-2271. doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2467_20
  5. Demirci A, Bozlak N, Turkel S. Chronic prostatitis developing due to candida infection: a case diagnosed 20 years later and review of up-to-date literature. Urol Case Rep. 2018;20:88-89. doi:10.1016/j.eucr.2018.07.014
  6. Urology Care Foundation. What are yeast infections?.

By Lana Barhum
Lana Barhum has been a freelance medical writer since 2009. She shares advice on living well with chronic disease.

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