What Is Male Yeast Infection


Although yeast infections are more commonly associated with women, men can also get yeast infections. Male yeast infection, also known as Candida balanitis, is caused by an overgrowth of Candida, a type of fungus. Common symptoms include itching, redness, pain during intercourse, and white discharge. Diagnosis involves a physical examination and sometimes laboratory tests. Treatment options include antifungal creams, oral medication, and home remedies like honey or tea tree oil. If left untreated, complications may arise, such as increased discomfort, foreskin complications, and potential systemic infections. Seeking medical attention is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Causes of male yeast infection

Generally, the “yeast infection” refers to vaginal yeast infection and oral thrush caused by Candida albicans and, less commonly, other Candida species such as C. glabrata.1 Candida is a fungus, which is a type of organism that can be found in different forms, such as yeast and mould.2 In healthy individuals, Candida yeasts are typically found in the normal oral and stomach flora, as well as on the skin.3 Candida albicans is one of the most common yeast found in the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, digestive system, and female reproductive system.4 However, their growth is usually controlled by our immune system.

When our immune system is weakened or not functioning properly, it results in overgrowth of Candida, leading to a fungal infection also known as Candidiasis. Penile yeast infection (yeast infection of the penis) is called Candida balanitis.5 Balanitis is the inflammation of the glans penis (head of the penis), while posthitis refers to inflammation of the foreskin. And when both the head of the penis and foreskin are infected, it is known as Candida Balanoposthitis.6  

Signs and symptoms of male yeast infection

The signs and symptoms of male yeast infection area:7

  • Itchiness and irritation
  • Inflammation (swelling) and redness in the groin area
  • Pain - including painful sexual intercourse
  • White, lumpy discharge (like cottage cheese) with an unpleasant smell
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • White shiny patches 
  • Foreskin sores, as well as difficulty pulling back the foreskin


A diagnosis of male yeast infection (Candida balanitis) can be confirmed by a healthcare professional: 

  • A discussion will take place in which a range of questions will be asked, for example:
    • Symptoms and their onset and duration
    • Hygiene routine 
    • Exposure to potential irritants and allergens, e.g. soap
    • Sexual history
    • A history of, if any, previous skin conditions, e.g. eczema
    • History of medical conditions that weaken your immune system, e.g. diabetes and HIV/AIDS
  • A physical examination of the penis
  • They may possibly arrange an STI screening if you are deemed high risk or have a suspected infection as symptoms are similar.
  • For severe cases, a blood test may be arranged for underlying causes such as diabetes as well as a swab sample for lab testing.

Management and treatment for yeast infection

Treatment for male yeast infection typically involves using antifungal medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend an antifungal cream, lotion or ointment based on your preference. These treatments can be bought over the counter at your local pharmacy. The topical antifungal treatments include miconazole and clotrimazole.8 It's important to note that when using topical antifungals, latex condoms should be avoided as they may damage the material, reducing effectiveness.  The treatment duration of a topical antifungal is until the symptoms settle or for up to 14 days.8

Alternatively, a single oral dose of fluconazole 150mg can be taken. If inflammation and redness are causing discomfort, they might recommend a steroid cream such as hydrocortisone 1% cream.8

While taking medication, you should try to keep the area clean to help reduce the infection:8 

  • Clean under the foreskin daily with lukewarm water and ensure the area is dried gently.
  • Avoid the use of soaps as it may irritate the area.
  • Consider using an emollient (e.g. aqueous cream) as a soap substitute. Emollients are not as harsh and drying, therefore providing a gentle cleansing action and hydrating the skin.9

Instead of traditional medicines, home remedies can be used to relieve symptoms:

  • Honey: studies have shown that honey can inhibit the growth of fungi*. The researchers discovered that Agastache, manuka and tea tree honey showed the strongest ability to kill fungi.10
  • Tea tree oil: it has been shown to have antifungal properties when applied to the head of the penis (glans penis).11 If pure tea tree oil is brought, it will need to be diluted with a saline solution as it may irritate the skin.
  • Coconut oil: a study in 2007 showed that it was effective against Candida albicans.13

Always discuss home remedies with your healthcare provider before use.

(*fungi is plural for fungus)


Sometimes male yeast infections can present with no symptoms. However, if left untreated, symptoms can become severe and lead to several complications such as:

  • Increased discomfort and pain: The infection may cause persistent itching, redness and irritation in the genital area. This can eventually create open sores or breaks in the skin. This increases the likelihood of a bacterial infection. 
  • Foreskin complications: For those uncircumcised, the infection can cause inflammation of the foreskin (phimosis) or inflammation of the head of the penis (balanitis). This leads to further discomfort and potential difficulties in retracting the foreskin. In severe cases, circumcision may be recommended.
  • Recurrence: Untreated male yeast infection may reoccur or become chronic, resulting in persistent symptoms and discomfort. 
  • Impact on sexual health: Sexual intercourse may become uncomfortable, affecting intimacy and sexual well-being. In addition, it can be transmitted to your sexual partner.
  • Systemic infections: Although rare, in individuals with weakened immune systems, a male yeast infection may enter the bloodstream (systemic) and cause serious health issues.

It is essential to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a yeast infection or experience persistent symptoms. A healthcare provider can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriately to reduce the risk of complications. 


How can I prevent male yeast infection?

Being overweight has been linked to an increased likelihood of male yeast infections. Therefore, ensuring a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. A proper hygiene routine is also important, including washing the penis and foreskin with warm water and thoroughly drying it. Avoiding irritants like soaps and using alternatives such as aqueous cream is recommended. Wearing breathable underwear can help reduce warmth and moisture in the groin area. Additionally, regular use of condoms during sexual intercourse will prevent transmission between sexual partners.

How common is male yeast infection?

It’s fairly common to have Candida present in the body, but when overgrown, it can cause
a yeast infection. 16-26% of men carry Candida, and approximately 3-11% will be affected in their lifetime.5 Roughly 3% will experience no symptoms, and 27% will eventually develop Candida balanoposthitis.15

Who is at risk of male yeast infection?

Although male yeast infection can be passed through sexual activity, it is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are a range of other risk factors that can cause this other than sex; this includes the following:6

  • Poor hygiene
  • Uncircumcised
  • Diabetes (uncontrolled diabetes increases the presence of sugar in the urine, which increases the growth of yeast)
  • Warm, moist environment 
  • Health conditions that weaken the immune system (e.g. HIV/AIDS and cancer)
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics (antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in the body and make it easier for Candida to grow rapidly)
  • Tight, fitting underwear and wet clothing
  • Overweight
  • Condoms containing lubricants
  • Spermicides 
  • Products that can irritate the skin (e.g. soaps)  

What can I expect if I have a male yeast infection?

It is possible to experience no symptoms; however, if you do, a range of symptoms may occur, such as itchiness, redness, or a white, cottage cheese-like discharge. If you have any concerns, your local healthcare provider or sexual health clinic can provide advice and information.

How long does a male yeast infection last?

When the infection is detected early and treatment is started, it should clear within 4-14 days. If symptoms persist, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider, as further treatment may be required, and additional testing may be necessary to identify any underlying issue. The yeast infection could potentially be an indication of another disease.

When should I see a doctor?

You should see if:

  • It is your first time experiencing these symptoms
  • You are under 16 years old or over 60 years old
  • If you have a recurring thrush (more than 4 times in 12 months) 
  • Treatment has not worked (persistent symptoms)
  • You have a weakened immune system  


Male yeast infection is caused by Candida balanitis overgrowth, affecting 3-11% of men in their lifetime. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to avoid potential complications, such as foreskin issues, recurrence, and impact on sexual health. Seeking medical attention is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective management. Preventive measures include maintaining good hygiene and a healthy lifestyle.


  1. Sobel JD. Vulvovaginal candidosis. The Lancet. 2007;369(9577): 1961–1971. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60917-9.
  2. Nobile CJ, Johnson AD. Candida albicans biofilms and human disease. Annual review of microbiology. 2015;69: 71–92. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-micro-091014-104330
  3. R AN, Rafiq NB. Candidiasis. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560624/ [Accessed 18th July 2023]
  4. Kühbacher A, Burger-Kentischer A, Rupp S. Interaction of candida species with the skin. Microorganisms. 2017;5(2): 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms5020032
  5. Wray AA, Velasquez J, Khetarpal S. Balanitis. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537143/ [Accessed 18th July 2023]
  6. Jegadish N, Fernandes SD, Narasimhan M, Ramachandran R. A descriptive study of the clinical and etiological profile of balanoposthitis. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2021;10(6): 2265–2271. https://doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2467_20
  7. Morris. Penile inflammatory skin disorders and the preventive role of circumcision. https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/article.asp?issn=2008-7802;year=2017;volume=8;issue=1;spage=32;epage=32;aulast=Morris
  8. Edwards SK, Bunker CB, van der Snoek EM, van der Meijden WI. 2022 European guideline for the management of balanoposthitis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: JEADV. 2023;37(6): 1104–1117. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.18954
  9. Purnamawati S, Indrastuti N, Danarti R, Saefudin T. The role of moisturizers in addressing various kinds of dermatitis: a review. Clinical Medicine & Research. 2017;15(3–4): 75–87. https://doi.org/10.3121/cmr.2017.1363
  10. Anand S, Deighton M, Livanos G, Pang ECK, Mantri N. Agastache honey has superior antifungal activity in comparison with important commercial honeys. Scientific Reports. 2019;9(1): 18197. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54679-w
  11. Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2006;19(1): 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
  12. Wallace TC. Health effects of coconut oil-a narrative review of current evidence. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2019;38(2): 97–107. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2018.1497562
  13. Nyirjesy P, Sobel JD. Genital mycotic infections in patients with diabetes. Postgraduate Medicine. 2013;125(3): 33–46. https://doi.org/10.3810/pgm.2013.05.2650
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Stephanie Adimonye

MPharm, Pharmacy, University of Brighton

Stephanie Adimonye is a clinical pharmacist with four years of experience as a GPhC registered pharmacist, specialising in community and homecare (in particular total parenteral nutrition (TPN).). Currently working in a start-up online pharmacy, she combines her clinical expertise with a business oriented mindset to ensure optimal patient outcomes. Stephanie's responsibilities include formulating individualized treatment plans, administering therapy, and monitoring patients closely. Alongside her clinical work, she is undertaking the "Writing in the Sciences" online course from Stanford University, enhancing her communication skills.

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818