Yeast Infection In Men: How Can I Tell If I Have One?

The penis is the primary sex organ in the male body. It is a critical part of sexual intercourse and reproduction. The penis also forms part of the urinary system.

The urethra runs from the bladder through the penis. This part of the pelvis allows both sperm and urine to be expelled from the body. 

There are a few conditions that can affect the male penis. These conditions can sometimes become serious, especially if they are not treated during an earlier stage.

Yeast infection is one condition that men often overlook. It is generally more common in women. Men can get a yeast infection on their penis. The infection can also affect the tongue, leading to a condition known as oral thrush. 

What Is A Penile Yeast Infection?

Yeast is a microorganism that is naturally found on the skin and inside the body. There are both good and bad strains of yeast. Healthy strains provide certain functions that are important for the human body. In some cases, the “bad” kinds of these microorganisms may overgrow. This can lead to the development of a yeast infection

Most people think that a yeast infection is a condition that affects women. While this is true, anyone can develop this type of infection. This would include male patients too. 

When a yeast infection affects the oral cavity, it is generally referred to as oral thrush. This type of yeast infection is also known as oral candidiasis. 

A man’s penis can also become infected when yeast microorganisms overgrow in the region. This type of infection will generally affect the tip of the male patient’s penis. 

It is generally easy to treat a yeast infection. This includes a penile yeast infection. A penile yeast infection is sometimes referred to as candida balanitis. There are over-the-counter drugs that can be used in the treatment of these infections. In cases where the OTC medication does not work, a stronger prescription drug may provide effective treatment. 

Men do need to ensure they notice the symptoms of a penile yeast infection early on. Failure to treat a yeast infection, men may experience health-related complications.

These complications may lead to discomfort, as well as pain symptoms. Some men also find that a yeast infection leads to embarrassing physical symptoms. This may cause issues with the man’s sexual performance

What Are The Symptoms Of A Penile Yeast Infection?

It is much easier to treat a penile yeast infection during an earlier stage. This is why men need to ensure they understand what a penile yeast infection is. An understanding of the symptoms that signal the presence of the infection should also be essential. 

Men should take action when they notice these signs. This is important even if they are unsure whether it might be a yeast infection. 

A red rash on the tip of the penis is considered the most common symptom associated with a penile yeast infection. Other symptoms that men may also notice include:

  • Shiny patches appear on the skin of the penis.

  • A white patch on the tip of the penis. These white patches may also affect the skin of the patient’s penis. 

  • There may be increased moisture in the penis’s skin. 

  • Some men notice a thick substance that has a white color underneath their foreskin. The substance may also collect at the skin folds of the penis. 

  • It is not uncommon for men to find that their penis becomes itchy if they have a yeast infection. 

  • A burning sensation has also been reported among men who developed a penile yeast infection. 

Symptoms of certain sexually transmitted infections are similar to those linked to a penile yeast infection. This is another important reason why men need to ensure they see a doctor if they notice any of these symptoms. 

In particular, there are several STDs that can cause pain, itchiness, and a red rash on the penis. These diseases can sometimes be serious and even lead to severe complications if they are not treated. 

The patient should make a list of any symptoms they experience. If there are symptoms not listed here, these should also be mentioned to the doctor. A complete overview of symptoms will ensure the doctor can make a more accurate diagnosis. It also helps the doctor understand what conditions may be suspected in the patient. 

What Causes A Penile Yeast Infection?

As previously mentioned, there are yeast species that live on the body. They usually do not cause any severe problems. One of the most common types of yeast is called candida. A small amount of these microorganisms inhabit the body – both internally and externally. 

A yeast infection occurs when the candida experiences an overgrowth. There are many reasons why candida may experience such an overgrowth. The overgrowth leads to the white patches and the red rashes that the patient will develop. 

It is important to consider the environment candida needs to grow and spread. This is usually a moist environment. Uncircumcised men need to take note of this. The foreskin can become moist. In turn, this would create an ideal breeding environment for candida. 

In most cases where a man develops a penile yeast infection, it is caused by sexual intercourse. This can happen if the man has sex with a woman affected by a yeast infection.

It will generally occur through unprotected sex. The yeast from the vagina would spread over to the male patient’s penis. This can cause the candida on the man’s penis to overgrow. 

Another reason for penile yeast infections would be improper hygiene. If a man fails to thoroughly clean their penis when taking a bath or shower, it may raise his risk of such an infection. 

Risk Factors

There are a couple of risk factors that have been associated with a penile yeast infection in men. Some risk factors are similar to those associated with a vaginal yeast infection. There are, however, a few risk factors for a male yeast infection that are unique to men. 

One of the first risk factors that come to mind is a foreskin. Yeast overgrowth and candida overgrowth, in particular, are most common in men who still have a foreskin. This is because the foreskin creates an appropriate moist environment. The moist skin makes it easier for candida yeast to grow.  

Men with a weak immune system also need to note that they may have a higher risk. This accounts for both penile and oral yeast infection. Many people with a weak immune system may also experience recurrent yeast infections.

This is because the immune system is unable to effectively keep candida under control. This makes it easier for candida infection to developed due to a weakened immune system. 

There are a few other risk factors that need to be noted:

  • Men with diabetes are more likely to develop a yeast infection on their penis. 

  • Obese men also have a higher risk of developing both oral thrush and balanitis. 

  • HIV patients have a weakened immune system. This makes them more vulnerable to candida overgrowth. 

  • Cancer patients also need to take note of their risk related to yeast overgrowth. This fungal infection is also more likely to affect patients with cancer, particular due to the weakened state of their immune system. 

It should be noted that antibiotics may also play a role in the risk of a yeast infection. When a man has to take antibiotics over a long period of time, he also becomes more vulnerable to an overgrowth of candida. 


Men need to ensure they know not only the risks but also the complications that may occur with a yeast infection. The condition needs to be treated early on. Failure to treat a penile yeast infection can cause serious problems with the male genitals. 

Balanitis is a common complication associated with a penile yeast infection. This is a condition where the foreskin becomes inflamed. The penis head may sometimes also be affected by the inflammation. In a circumcised man, only the head of the man’s penis will become inflamed. A patient is more likely to develop balanitis from a yeast infection if they have type 2 diabetes. 

The foreskin may develop scarring when the man has balanitis. The scarring can make the foreskin stick to the penis. It can interfere with urination. Additionally, this reaction can also cause problems when a man has an erection. 

In some patients, balanitis may lead to swollen glands. The inflamed glands may also be painful in such a patient. Additional symptoms may also develop. These include fatigue and weakness. 

One of the most serious complications would be invasive candidiasis. This condition is sometimes also called candidemia. The condition refers to the candida entering the patient’s bloodstream. This can lead to life-threatening complications. Treatment becomes more difficult, and the patient may experience fatal complications. 

Men who have a weak immune system are at the greatest risk for invasive candidiasis. The risk of this complication is also greater in men who had recently been catheterized.

If a man fails to get appropriate treatment for a penile yeast infection, even as it continues to grow and spread, they also become more likely to develop this invasive form of candidiasis. 


There are effective treatments available for men who develop a penile yeast infection. The sooner the treatment is initiated, the more successful it will be. A weaker and safer medication will also be useful during the earlier stages of the infection.

If the man leaves the infection to become more serious, then prescription-strength drugs will be needed to fight against the infection. These treatments can cause serious and exceptionally unpleasant side-effects. 

In the majority of cases, a doctor will provide a male patient with an antifungal cream or topical lotion. The man may also obtain some of these from a local pharmacy. There are a few antifungal creams that can be purchased without a prescription. Others, however, will require a prescription from a licensed doctor. 

A few antifungal ointments that are commonly used to treat a penile yeast infection include:

  • Miconazole 

  • Clotrimazole

  • Imidazole

In cases where the infection is more serious, the doctor may prescribe fluconazole. This drug is generally sold under the brand name Diflucan. It is an oral drug that the patient will take with water.

Hydrocortisone cream will also be provided to the patient. The combination of these drugs offers a more effective treatment for a serious yeast infection. 


Prevention is key to helping a man reduce their exposure to the risks associated with a penile yeast infection. There are methods that can effectively prevent yeast infections from developing. 

Proper hygiene is critical. Men need to ensure they thoroughly clean their genital region every day. This helps to reduce the presence of candida on the penis and foreskin. 

Sexual monogamy helps to provide a further reduction in the risk of a penile yeast infection. Additionally, wearing a condom during sexual intercourse can also act as a preventative strategy.  

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Yeast infection can affect the penis and oral cavity in male patients. It can lead to white patches on the skin. Burning sensations and other side-effects can also develop. The condition may lead to complications if it is not treated. There are effective treatment options available.

Men should also note that there are ways to potentially prevent the development of a penile yeast infection. Recognizing the risk factors associated with the condition also help a man determine how likely they are to develop a yeast infection. 

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  1. (2022) Vaginal yeast infection (thrush): Overview. [online] Available at:
  2. JOMFP. (2014) Oral candidiasis: An Overview. [online] Available at:
  3. StatPears. (2020) Balanitis. [online] Available at:
  4. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. (2017) Penile Inflammatory Skin Disorders and the Preventive Role of Circumcision. [online] Available at:

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