Yeast infections are often seen as a women’s health problem. Although they are less common in men, they can affect people of any gender or age.
In most cases, yeast infections go away on their own or within a few days of treatment.
Candida Balanitis is the most common type of yeast infection in men. It usually causes inflammation of the head of the penis. In the uncircumcised, yeast can also infect the foreskin.This situation is called candidal balanoposthitis.
This article explains what a yeast infection looks and feels like when it affects the penis and genitals. It also provides some tips on when to seek medical care.
Yeast infections in men usually don’t cause symptoms right away. If the infection persists, it may cause discomfort and pain.
Symptoms may include:
- redness and swelling at the top of the penis
- sores, cracks, or bleeding in the foreskin
- burning sensation when urinating
- White, lumpy, foul-smelling discharge
- discomfort during sex
- small rash-like bumps that may have pus
- white, shiny patches of skin on the top of the penis
Yeast Infections: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications
Causes and Risk Factors
Yeast can be passed from one person to another through sex. Even so, balanitis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection. That’s because you can get it without having sex.
Other risk factors include:
- not keeping genitals clean
- Diabetes: Men with diabetes have more sugar in their urine, which helps yeast grow
- Long-term use of antibiotics reduces healthy bacteria in the body, which Candida growing up
- Weakened immune system due to disease, chronic health conditions, or medications
- Soaps and skin care products that irritate the skin
- tight underwear or wet clothes
- hot and humid environment
- condoms with lubricant
when to see a doctor
An untreated yeast infection can lead to chronic prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland.
They can also cause:
- phimosis or tightening of the foreskin
- narrowing of the opening of the urethra
- Balanitis obliterans dry, causing white, scaly, itchy patches that can lead to scarring
- Leukoplakia, thickened leukoplakia inside the mouth
Men who have never had a yeast infection or have severe symptoms should see a doctor. It’s also important to see a doctor when an infection doesn’t clear up on its own.
Symptoms can be signs of diabetes or a disease that weakens the immune system.
If the yeast infection is severe, it can be tested with a swab around the top of the penis. If the sore or red spot on the penis does not heal, a biopsy may be needed to rule out cancer.
Most mild yeast infections do not require treatment.
Antifungal creams or oral medications can help relieve symptoms. Some of these drugs are available over the counter (OTC) and some require a prescription.
If you have not been treated for a yeast infection before, you should see your doctor before using an OTC antifungal drug for the first time.
Good hygiene can help prevent and treat yeast infections. Wash your penis regularly with plain warm water and make sure to dry it well after washing.
Never use scented body wash or soap on the genitals. It’s best to wear loose cotton underwear or boxers to keep your genitals dry and cool. These steps can help prevent yeast from growing.
Yeast infections involving the penis are uncommon. They usually clear up on their own, but if symptoms worsen, you may notice redness, pain, swelling, itching, ulcers, and discharge at the tip of your penis.
If you are uncircumcised, have diabetes, or have a weakened immune system, you are at higher risk for yeast infections. Long-term use of antibiotics can increase your risk. So use condoms with spermicide and lubricant.
To prevent yeast infections, keep your genitals clean, cool, and dry. Avoid odorous and irritating products. If you do have a yeast infection, you can treat it with over-the-counter creams, but talk to your doctor first. Proper treatment can keep you safe from long-term damage or other health problems.
Yeast infections in men are uncommon. When they do, the symptoms can be painful. Understanding what causes these infections can help prevent, diagnose, and treat them.
Seek medical care for severe or prolonged symptoms. If you and your partner develop symptoms, it’s important to treat both of you so you don’t reinfect each other.