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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yudara Kularathne

Male yeast infections, also known as Penile candidiasis

Photo by MH J from Pexels


Male yeast infections, also known as penile thrush or penile candidiasis, can also be resolved with improved genital hygiene (particularly under the foreskin) and by preventing the build-up of moisture with breathable underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Uncircumcised men are more commonly affected.

Male yeast infections often go away on their own once the underlying cause is resolved. But if left untreated, severe cases can sometimes spread to the scrotum, inner thighs, and buttocks.

Table of Contents:


Symptoms and causes
How is it spread?

Although penile candidiasis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), the fungus can be spread to the penis through sexual contact, including oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse.

There are several risk factors for penile thrush, including:

  • Uncircumcised penis

  • Poor penile hygiene

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Nutritional deficiency (including vitamin A, vitamin B6, and iron)

  • Being immunocompromised

  • Prolonged use of antibiotics

  • Immunosuppressant therapy

  • Smoking

  • Urinary catheters


Some people with penile candidiasis have no symptoms. Those that do may experience:

  • Genital itchiness

  • Redness and swelling of the foreskin or head of the penis (balanitis)

  • Trouble pulling back the foreskin

  • Cracking or bleeding of the foreskin

  • White, foul-smelling discharge

  • Small rash-like bumps on the penis, sometimes pus-filled

  • Pain during urination

  • Pain during sex

When to see a doctor?

It helps to see a doctor if the symptoms are severe or unusual.

If you decide to self-treat and OTC treatments don't work, or the yeast infection recurs, it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation.

Diagnosis and treatment

A healthcare provider can confirm the diagnosis of penile candidiasis by taking a swab of the affected skin and sending it to the lab for testing. A KOH prep test involves the application of potassium hydroxide and a blue stain to the sample, which allows the lab technologist to see the yeast cells under a microscope.

If sores or red spots on the penis do not heal, a biopsy might be needed to rule out cancer.


Penile yeast infections are usually treated with topical antifungals, though severe cases may require an oral antifungal. Good hygiene, weight loss, and the consistent use of condoms can help reduce your risk of penile thrush.

What can you do in the meantime?

Good hygiene can help prevent and treat yeast infections. Wash your penis regularly with plain warm water. Be sure to dry well after you wash and put on clean underwear. Avoid products with scents and irritants. Avoid having sex or use protection.

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