Stop the Itching: Get Effective Treatment for Male Yeast Infection Delivered Directly to You

Male yeast infections happen when fast fungus growth disturbs the microbial balance of the penis, which is what causes you the itching and burning feeling. Fortunately, it’s easily treatable with antifungal agents.

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Written by Dr Kimberly Langdon, MD

Information last reviewed 06/21/19

About

What is a yeast infection?

Male yeast infections affect the penis, causing itching, rashes and white patches on the skin. This is commonly caused by the Candida albicans fungi. Candida fungi are naturally found on the surface of the skin, but other microbes keep the fungus in check and reduce the chances of an infection occurring. It is for this reason that yeast infections can be a consequence of antibiotics, which can interfere with the balance of microbes on the skin. Tight-fitting clothes and hot or humid environments create the ideal environment for the Candida fungus to grow, so can increase your chances of developing an infection. Sexual contact with someone with a Candida infection, obesity, steroid use, diabetes and being immunocompromised can also increase your risk of a yeast infection.

Causes

What causes a yeast infection in men?

Male yeast infections are caused by the Candida fungus. Candida is naturally found on the surface of the skin, but the balance of different microbes and other substances on the skin help to prevent Candida infection. Factors that alter this protective equilibrium can increase your risk of yeast infection. These factors include:

  • Antibiotics: Yeast infections are a common side effect of antibiotics. Antibiotics can damage bacteria on the skin which usually keeps the Candida fungus in check. Therefore, taking antibiotics can allow the Candida to reproduce and grow more quickly, leading to infection.
  • Diabetes: If your diabetes is not well controlled, your blood sugar levels can increase. A spike in blood sugar can encourage Candida to grow, making a yeast infection more likely.
  • Hot & Humid Environments: The Candida fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. People often sweat more in hot and humid climates and perspiration is more likely to remain on the skin. This helps to create the ideal environment for Candida fungi to grow, which increases your risk of infection.
  • Tight-Fitting Clothing: Wearing tight clothing can increase your chances of yeast infection, because it is harder for your skin to breathe, you are therefore more likely to sweat and it is more likely that your sweat will sit on the skin for longer, rather than evaporating. This can promote the growth of Candida fungi, making it more likely you will develop a yeast infection.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for yeast infections for various reasons. People with obesity often have more skin folds than people of a healthy weight. Like the genital regions, these skin folds can harbor the Candida fungi and allow it to grow. Sweat and difficulties keeping skin folds clean can improve the environment for the Candida fungi. In addition, obesity is also commonly associated with type 2 diabetes, another risk factor for yeast infections.
  • Strenuous Exercise: Engaging in a lot of exercise can have great benefits for your health, but it can marginally increase your chances of developing a yeast infection. This is because, as you exercise you sweat more, which creates a better environment for Candida to grow. It is a good idea to have a shower and wear clean clothes after exercising to reduce the chances of a yeast infection.
  • Being Immunocompromised: Being immunocompromised predisposes you to a wide array of infections, as your immune system is not adequately protecting you from pathogens, including Candida fungi. If your body is not fighting off the Candida fungi, an infection is much more likely to develop.
  • Steroid Use: Steroids are often given to people to prevent/treat an overactive immune system response. Long-term use of steroids can reduce the response of your immune system to the Candida fungus, mimicking a mild immunocompromise and making it more likely you will develop a yeast infection.
  • Sexual Contact: Sexual contact with an individual with an active Candida infection (oral, anal, vaginal, penile) can increase your risk of getting a yeast infection yourself, by exposing you to higher levels of Candida fungi.  
  • Poor Hygiene: Poor hygiene practices can contribute to the warm, moist environment in which Candida fungi flourish, but it also allows more Candida fungi to build up on the skin, as they are not washed away regularly. To reduce your risk of a yeast infection, you should change your underwear daily and wash regularly.
  • Perfumed Soaps: Whilst washing can reduce your chances of a yeast infection, using perfumed soaps can have the opposite effect. Perfumed soaps and irritate the skin, and also alter the microbial balance that helps protect you from Candida infection.

There are several different species of Candida fungus. Most yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans. The most medically significant species of Candida are:

 Species

 Percentages causing yeast infections

 Candida albicans

 50-60%

 Candida glabrata

 15-20%

 Candida parapsilosis

 10-20%

 Candida tropicalis

 6-12%

 Candida krusei

 1-3%

Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of yeast infections. In men, these generally occur on the penis, but can be found in other areas around the genitals. Please note: You do not have to experience all of these symptoms to have a yeast infection.

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Pain
  • Whitish patches
  • Rashes
  • Maceration (breakdown of skin due to prolonged exposure to moisture)
  • Fissures (torn skin)
  • Peeling
  • Shiny, tight skin on the penis
  • Odor
  • Painful urination

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a yeast infection is made based on the physical appearance of red patches, white patches, and symptoms of itching, burning or pain. Risk factors such as: diabetes, obesity, antibiotics, steroids, exposure to a partner with a current yeast infection and being immunocompromised may also be taken into account. Diagnosis can also be made retrospectively, if you use an antifungal treatment and your symptoms resolve.

Treatment

Treating the infection

Fluconazole is the first-line treatment for penile yeast infections. It is usually taken as a single tablet.

If you have a yeast infection that does not affect the penis, topical antifungal creams, known as imidazoles, are often effective. Types of imidazole creams include: Clotrimazole, Econazole and Miconazole. If your symptoms do not resolve within 14 days of using an imidazole cream, a Fluconazole tablet can be used as an alternative.

Relieving the Symptoms

The symptoms of a yeast infection can be very uncomfortable. Topical steroids (steroid creams) can help to relieve the symptoms faster. Alternatively, using an ice pack / cold pack or even a bag of frozen peas, can offer rapid relief.

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. Lewis MAO, Williams DW. Diagnosis and management of oral candidosis. Br Dent J. 2017 Nov 10. 223 (9):675-681. 
  2. Lyu X, Zhao C, Yan ZM, Hua H. Efficacy of nystatin for the treatment of oral candidiasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016. 10:1161-71. 
  3. Adams NP, Bestall JC, Lasserson TJ, et al. Fluticasone versus placebo for chronic asthma in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005. CD003135. 
  4. Allen G, Logan R, Gue S. Oral manifestations of cancer treatment in children: a review of the literature. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2010 Aug. 14(4):481-90. 

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