Causes, symptoms and treatment of male yeast infection

Often, people see yeast infections as more of a female health problem. However, it's also common in men because the fungi causing the infection are normally present in moist areas around the penis. But of course, having unprotected sex with a partner who has vaginal yeast infection would significantly contribute to an overgrowth of yeast in men.

In most cases, yeast infections would go away on their own. Still, some would require a severe medical diagnosis and treatment. Failure to treat the condition can lead to painful and uncomfortable feelings or embarrassing symptoms. Plus, you may develop severe complications, especially if the infection goes to your bloodstream.

Throughout this article, we’ve outlined and discussed some of the most common yeast infections in men, their causes, symptoms, and treatment techniques. We have also covered some of the risk factors and complications that arise if the conditions are not adequately managed.

Causes of yeast infection in men

There are various bacteria and fungi on your body. Most bacteria are beneficial and help your body in multiple ways, like keeping your health by supporting your immune systems and managing inflammation. However, some would be very dangerous, causing infections and complications.

Yeast infection in men is caused by a fungus known as candida, usually present in your body. However, an overgrowth of candida, or when the fungus starts to multiply uncontrollably, would cause infection.

Yeast infection in men may also occur due to unprotected sexual intercourse with a woman with a vaginal yeast infection.

Again yeast infection is most common in moist areas of the penis because of the warmth on the area, which sometimes happens due to poor hygiene, tight clothing, or infrequent change of undergarments.

What are the signs and symptoms of yeast infection in men?

Normally, yeast infection won’t immediately cause symptoms. But, when they show up, you’ll know you have been infected if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Itching and discomfort during sexual intercourse

  • Burning at the tip of the foreskin or the tip of your penis

  • Sore, bleeding, or cracking on the foreskin

  • Moist feeling on the tip of the penis

  • Red rash or sometimes white patches on the penis

  • Thick and white substance under the foreskin or other folds

You may also notice:

  • Cottage-cheese like discharge with an unpleasant smell

  • Pain, burning, and discomfort while urinating

  • Swelling around the foreskin or the penis

  • Trouble or difficulty in pulling back your foreskin

  • Trouble keeping or getting an erection

  • Small bumps with pus in them

In some serious situations, you'll have a hard time keeping control of your urine flow. Itchiness, redness, or pain may sometimes indicate the presence of sexually transmitted infections. So, never ignore any symptoms resulting in infertility, among other complications.

What are the risk factors for yeast infection in men?

Apart from having sex with an infected yeast partner, several other factors can increase your chances of getting or developing a yeast infection. Amongst them include:

Being uncircumcised

Yeast infection affects both circumcised and uncircumcised men. However, uncircumcised men have a higher risk of yeast infection since the areas under the foreskin act as the breeding place for candida.

So, yeast symptoms would be fewer in circumcised men than in uncircumcised ones. Besides, the uncircumcised men may sometimes fail to regularly clean the areas under their foreskin, thus accumulating too many germs that promote infection.

Although studies show circumcised men are less likely to have yeast symptoms, they however more likely to pass it to their sexual partners. Hence, you risk contracting yeast from women with a vaginal yeast infection.

Prolonged use of antibiotics

Antibiotics help manage harmful bacteria in your body. However, they can also kill off or destroy beneficial bacteria leading to the overgrowth of yeast. To undo the attack on the good bacteria, you can replenish the level of your good bacteria. By increasing the number of positive bacteria, you also ensure to avoid using antibiotics if unnecessary.

Having diabetes

An overview of diabetes types and treatment indicate that persons with type 1 or 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing yeast infections than individuals without the conditions. Besides, yeast infection would feed on the body's sugar. Once your blood sugar is not adequately managed, the increased sugars will cause an overgrowth of yeast. Your body would develop a yeast infection in response to the high sugar levels.

Therefore, those with diabetes must ensure they adequately manage their sugar levels. Even better, ensure you go for a periodical screening of yeast infections.

Having obese

Taking too much engineered or highly processed and food addiction are some causes of obesity. Once you have a poor diet or take too much food, you increase your risk of getting yeast infections.

But, how? Simple, being overweight means you'll have more warmth and moisture areas or skin folds in your body, including around your foreskin. And moist and warm places are ideal platforms for bacterial growth, so they’d contribute to yeast infection.

Having impaired immune system

Different chronic and expensive diseases and medical conditions like cancer or HIV may increase your risk of yeast infection. Those living with HIV/AIDS may have several opportunities of leading a healthier life. However, you also stand a high chance of developing opportunistic diseases or infections that affect individuals with weak immune systems.

Unfortunately, since HIV would weaken your immunity, you'll be at a high chance of developing fungal infections like histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and candida, causing yeast infection.

Additionally, cancer treatment and management methods like radiation and chemotherapy would cause several changes to your body, including destroying some cells. The major challenge is that the treatments weaken an individual's immune system, thus increasing their chances of getting infections, including fungal infections responsible for yeast.

Wearing tight or wet underwear

By now, you know that fungal infections thrive in a wet environment. That said, wearing tight or wet underwear would increase your risk of getting a yeast infection. For instance, too sluggish pants would hold onto moisture or boost body temperature to increase moisture around your foreskin. This raises your chances of yeast or fungal infection.

Staying in hot and humid environments

Studies indicate that yeast infection is more common in summer than winter periods. Stereotypically, fungal infections grow more in dark and moist or wet areas. Besides, you're most likely to sweat more during summer, meaning more risks to have a moist foreskin and wet testicles. This increases your chances of developing a yeast infection around your genitals.

Using spermicides

Of course, they would help prevent pregnancy in your female partner. But, apart from killing the little swimmers, spermicides may cause itchiness, redness, and pain around our genitals. And while you scratch, your increase the irritation, burning, and itching, which may, in turn, lead to infections of the affected areas, including yeast infection.

Using condoms containing lubricants

Condoms have their excellent and ugly sides. Of course, using condoms would help lower your risk of sexually transmitted infections and help prevent you from getting infections from women with a vaginal yeast infection. It can also, however, increase your risk of fungal infection. How?

Condoms are made of various lubricants. Among them is glycerin, which may transform into sugar, especially when left under your foreskin. And since sugar feeds bacteria, it will trigger your risk of yeast infection.

Using soaps and other body irritating substances

Though it’s most common in women, soap and other irritating substances may cause your genitals to become itchy with red sores increasing the chances of infections.

Before discussing the treatment and management of yeast infection, let's find some differences between fungal infection and other conditions that might masquerade as yeast infections.

Which conditions mimic yeast infection?

For some time now, some people have mistakenly taken certain sexual diseases to be yeast. At the same time, others have treated yeast infections for STDs. Also, others have thought allergies and other skin conditions to be yeast infections. So, which diseases resemble fungal infections?

Sexually transmitted diseases

Some STDs like trichomoniasis, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes may cause irritation, itchiness, and redness in the genitals or during sex. The same symptoms yeast portrays infections.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia. Yeast infections would cause some inflammation and STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia. These STIs may also have abnormal discharge like yeast. This sometimes makes it hard to know whether you have a yeast infection of suffering from sexual conditions.

So, here’s how you can know the differences in the conditions. Yeast infections produce cottage-cheese discharge, while gonorrhea or chlamydia have white, green, or yellow discharge. Therefore, when you're confused about your needs, you should visit your healthcare center for proper diagnosis.

Trichomoniasis. Although this infection rarely shows signs and symptoms, people who have it may experience burning, itching, and discomfort when peeing or having fishy-smelling discharge. Similarly, fungal infections show the same symptoms.

Herpes. You may also confuse herpes with yeast infections since they share similar symptoms. Like fungal infections, herpes causes burning and itching around the genitals or areas around your penis.

Allergies and other skin conditions

Like yeast infections, conditions such as lichen sclerosis may cause changes like whitening and itch anywhere in your body, including around the penis of uncircumcised men.

Also, certain cleaning products like soaps and detergents may sometimes trigger similar symptoms to yeast infection, causing irritation and discomfort around your genitals.

Diagnosis and treatment options for yeast infection in men

Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and check your penis and genital areas at large for any signs of yeast infections. They can also use swab the tip of your penis for samples that they send to the laboratory for testing.

The good news is that mild yeast infections would not need any form of treatment as they would go away independently. However, you can use antifungal creams and other oral medications or over-the-counter drugs to help manage the symptoms.

Some of the recommended antifungal creams for yeast infection treatment include:

  • Clotrimazole (Desenex, Lotrimin AF, Lotrimin AF Ringworm, and Crux)

  • Imizadole (Selezen, Canestem)

  • Miconazole (Lotrimin AF, Ting Antifungal)

Note! Those who have never been treated for yeast infection should first check with the doctors before taking antifungal medications for the first time.

How long does yeast infection in men last?

Your infection would clear up within a week or two, especially if it's managed well and responds to antifungal medications. Sexually active partners must ensure all of them are treated to prevent re-infection.

When should I see the doctor?

Make an appointment and consult your doctor if your yeast infection doesn't improve even after your treatment.

Also, visit our doctor if you continuously get recurrent fungal infections (which refers to having 4 or more fungal infections per year). Such would require an adequate prescription as home remedies may not be effective on these conditions.

How to prevent yeast infection in men

To effectively manage or prevent yeast infections, you must consider:

  1. Adequate genital hygiene; ensure you properly wash and dry your penis well

  2. Consider going for circumcision; this helps remove the foreskin, which in most cases acts as the breeding place for bacteria due to its warmth and moist conditions.

  3. Manage your diabetes: Ensure you take your medications properly to keep track of your blood sugar levels and ensure they remain as low as possible.

  4. Only use antibiotics when you have to; since antibiotics may eat beneficial bacteria, ensure you don’t take them against every infection.

  5. Manage your weight; as earlier mentioned, being overweight increases your risk of infection. So, exercise more often, maintain a healthy balance, and avoid overeating or consuming too many fats.

  6. Limit your exposure to chemicals, soaps, detergents, and other substances that causes irritation or makes your genitals wet for fungal growth

  7. Keep loose or wear breathable undergarments to ensure you don’t accumulate any moisture around your genitals. In other words, breathable pants would help keep you dry, reducing your risk of yeast infection.

  8. Replenish good bacteria; undo the antibiotics attacks by taking an adequate or high number of good bacteria. It would help if you considered taking probiotic supplements or eating yogurt containing active cultures that promote good bacteria to help manage your yeast infection.

  9. Upgrade your condom game and ensure you use one every time you're having sex to prevent you from getting a yeast infection, especially from women with a vaginal yeast infection. Even better, practice sexual monogamy.

  10. Consider circumcision to help improve your penile hygiene and reduce any accumulation of 

What are some of the complications of yeast infection in men?

When yeast infections are not managed in time, it may lead to several severe complications, including:

Chronic prostatitis

This is an inflammation of the prostate glands. Symptoms characterizing this condition include pain in the genitourinary systems. You’ll also experience pain during ejaculation, at the lower abdomen, and pain in your urethra, especially after urination.

Candidal Balanitis

Balanitis is the inflammation or swelling of the penis head (glans penis). This condition is most common in uncircumcised men. Primarily, the condition is associated with poor hygiene leading to the accumulation of body oils or dead cells at your genitals. This accumulation of smegma would reduce aeration, irritating the penis head.

Those with balanitis experiences redness, swelling, or tenderness of their penis, foul-smelling discharge (smegma), and painful urination. You may also be unable to retract or return the foreskin of the penis.

Others would have moist skin of their penis with thick and white substances collected on the folds of the skin. Or have areas of white skin and patches of the penis. Worst is, you may become impotence.

Recurrent infections

One of the most common complications of yeast infection is having another illness. Studies indicate high chances of developing another yeast infection within the same year, even after managing one.

Invasive candidiasis

Invasive candidiasis is a condition caused when fungus spreads into your bloodstream. This infection can affect your heart, eyes, bones, and brain, among other body parts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people may develop invasive candidiasis when they're already sick, making it hard to know its exact symptoms.

However, you may develop chill and fever that don’t improve even after taking antibiotic treatment.


Yeast infections aren't widespread in men, and sometimes they may go unnoticed. However, when they appear, you'll notice symptoms like pain, redness, inflammation, sores, itching, and some discharge from the tip of your penis.

Some of these symptoms would go away on their own. However, you can use antifungal creams and certain over-the-counter-medication to manage these symptoms.

But, prevention is better than treatment and cure. So, ensure you maintain high penile and genital hygiene and avoid wearing tight and wet undergarments. Also, manage your blood sugar levels, avoid prolonged use of antibiotics and ensure adequate management of conditions or diseases that weaken your immune systems.