Penile thrush is a type of yeast infection of the penis. Yeast is a type of fungus, and the most common type that infects the penis is Candida albicans. Symptoms of a male yeast infection are red/white patches on the skin, itching, burning and pain. Male thrush responds well to antifungal agents such as Fluconazole.
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Written by Dr Kimberly Langdon, MD
Information last reviewed 06/21/19
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.
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:
There are several different species of Candida fungus. Most yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans. The most medically significant species of Candida are:
Percentages causing yeast infections
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yeast infections, primarily from Candida albicans, are a common cause of penile rashes that itch and burn. However, other fungal infections, such as tinea cruris (jock itch) and STIs can also have similar symptoms.
Jock itch or Tinea Cruris is not a yeast infection, but it is caused by a fungus. Tinea Cruris infections can affect the scrotum, groin and penis. It is commonly caused by other fungal infections i.e. athlete’s foot spreading to the area, but tight-clothing, hot and humid conditions and a compromised immune system can increase your risk of infection. The Trichophton rubrum fungus is responsible for 90% of cases and can be treated by antifungal medications known as azoles and allylamines.
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