Yes, men can get yeast infections. And while they can be unpleasant, they’re also very treatable. So, while you may be worried about what’s happening right now, understand that it’s not forever — and that you have options.
Just the phrase “yeast infection” is enough to make many of us wince — we know. And when you find out yeast infections are fungal, the cringe factor is even greater.
The symptoms of a male penile yeast infection leave much to be desired, it’s true, but the infection is typically easy to treat and even prevent.
Generally, when people talk about “yeast infections”, they’re talking about an infection caused by a fungal strain known as candida.
Candida (found in the gut of roughly half of healthy adults) can live on the outside of the body and overgrowth can lead to an infection, called candidiasis.
Occasionally, people get penis yeast infections confused with jock itch — they are not the same. Jock itch is most often caused by fungi known as trichophyton rubrum, not candida.
Candida overgrowth in men can happen for a variety of reasons, though having sex with a woman who has a yeast infection may be a contributing factor.
Balanitis is inflammation of the head (glans) of the penis. While there are other forms of balanitis, candidal balanitis is the name for this inflammation when a yeast infection is present. It’s estimated candida is responsible for about 30 percent to 35 percent of all balanitis cases.
Similarly, when candida overgrowth occurs in the throat or mouth, it’s called “thrush.” However, that’s about all thrush and s penile yeast infections have in common — the type of fungus that creates thrush is the same that creates a penile yeast infection.
The symptoms of a penile yeast infection are pretty hard to miss. We mentioned before they’re unpleasant. Here’s why:
You may notice that these symptoms can resemble those of some sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs). Painful urination and discharge should never be ignored, whether you think it’s “just” a yeast infection or not. Untreated STDs can lead to much bigger problems down the road.
There are certain things that can increase the likelihood you’ll one day experience a penis yeast infection. Some of these things include:
You can certainly manage some of these risk factors to lessen your chances of a yeast infection. It’s important to note, uncircumcised penises require more careful washing, as the foreskin hides a damp, dark place, perfect for nurturing the overgrowth of yeast.
You should visit your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis as many of these symptoms can be indicative of other penile infections, such as sexually transmitted infections.
If your symptoms are a result of a candida infection, the initial treatment generally involves a topical antifungal cream applied to the penis.
If you’re prone to recurring candida, your healthcare provider should be involved in your treatment.
Strains of candida can become resistant to antifungal treatments over time, which would make it more and more difficult to get rid of an infection. Recurrent candida infections can also be associated with medical diseases, such as diabetes.