Yeast Infections in Men

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
February 13, 2023
Yeast Infections in Men

Yeast infections in men, typically spots or a rash on the penis, are rare but easily treated with a cream or oral medication. Here’s what men need to know.

The yeast Candida thrives in warm, dark, moist places, especially the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina. It can live inside us without causing any problems. In fact, it helps us digest food properly. But sometimes, like a weed, it can overgrow and create symptoms.

Yeast infections in men are less common than in women. You might see small white spots, redness, or a dry, peeling rash on the penis that itches or burns. You might have a discharge that looks like cottage cheese, or, in severe cases, you may have a hard time peeing or keeping control of your urine stream.


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What causes yeast infections?

A man can get one from sex without a condom with a woman with a vaginal infection. This is most often a problem for men who are uncircumcised.

A course of antibiotics, or several, can kill off bacteria you need in your body to keep Candida from overgrowing. A yeast infection can sometimes be the first clue that you have diabetes.

You’re at more risk if you’ve been taking antibiotics for a long time, are overweight, have diabetes, have a compromised immune system, or are uncircumcised and don’t clean under your foreskin.

Where men get yeast infections

An infection on the tip or under the foreskin may go away without treatment. Sometimes, however, it spreads to the scrotum, inner thighs, and buttocks.

An obese man might get yeast infections under his breasts, in abdominal folds, or in his groin — as the areas build up moisture.

Oral thrush is a Candida infection in your mouth. You’ll see white spots inside your mouth or on your tongue, and you might feel pain with swallowing, as if you have a sore throat. There’s no data about whether you can get thrush from oral sex with someone with a genital infection.

Men can also get Candida infections in their toenails, although other funguses may be at work. If you see something cottage-cheesy under your nail, that’s a big clue.

Yeast infections in men can be serious, but nearly always in men who have a damaged immune system. Rarely, a man can get a serious infection from contact with contaminated equipment during a surgical procedure.

If a man has recurrent infections, they indicate an immune issue that should be investigated. For example, one 55-year-old man came to the University of Virginia Immunology Clinic because of infections in his toes, fingernails, and mouth. His other symptoms were coughs and gastric reflux after eating and exercising. This man turned out to have a thynoma, a kind of tumor. Even after surgery, he was vulnerable to infections and had to take anti-fungal medication.

Treatment for yeast infections

Yeast infections in men are treated with antifungal medications, including topical creams and oral pills. If you live in the United States, you will need to see a doctor for a prescription.

Some research indicates that unsweetened yogurt can help yeast infections, as the bacteria in yogurt help fight the Candida overgrowth. To be certain that a yeast infection is causing your symptoms, rather than another infection, you should always consult a doctor before attempting any home remedies for yeast infections.

Treatments for oral thrush are similar to those for a genital infection, and include lozenges and mouthwashes.

Your doctor may advise you to take certain precautions while your yeast infection is healing, such as:

  • Avoiding sexual activity
  • Washing with water, rather than with soap or shower gel
  • Fully drying the affected area after washing
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Taking showers instead of baths
  • Finishing your full course of medication

The best prevention is to clean and dry your penis each time you shower and after sex. Unscented soaps are best. Use condoms if your female partner has an infection. Wear loose cotton underwear to prevent moisture building up under your foreskin.


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February 13, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O'Dell, RN