Penile Yeast Infections: How To Treat & Prevent Them

Did you know men can get yeast infections? It’s true. Here's what you need to know about penile yeast infections.

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky
Board Certified Urologist, expert in male sexual dysfunction
by Dr. Jed Kaminetsky Last updated 07/31/2023
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Male yeast infections

Can men have yeast infections? Sure can.

Penile yeast infections are a legitimate health problem for men.

Even though men may not be as prone to yeast infections as women, the condition can be just as uncomfortable and as unsightly to contend with.

Below is a closer look at the penile yeast infection, what symptoms to watch for, and more.

Quick FAQs

The most common symptoms are burning, itching, and swelling.

While it will be different for everyone, some of the most common causes are poor hygiene, prolonged moisture, and not rinsing harsh soap off in the shower.

Yes, you can get a yeast infection from your partner during intercourse.

Penile yeast infections are typically treated with topical antifungal medications such as Desenex, Lotrimin, and Selezen.

What is a penile yeast infection?

A penile yeast infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of a specific type of yeast referred to as Candida.

Normally, the body keeps the number of Candida in a healthy range.

However, a weakened immune system, exposure to someone with a yeast infection, and even certain hygiene practices can cause the yeast to grow more quickly and cause an infection.

Penile yeast infection can be painful—often characterized by:

  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Swelling

However, the condition is most often treatable with over-the-counter medications. Further, the condition can oftentimes be avoided.

What Are The Common Symptoms?

Most men can tell right away when they start to develop a penile yeast infection because the symptoms can cause so much discomfort.

When it comes to male yeast infection, penile head irritation and discomfort is the most common symptom.

Here are some common penile yeast infection symptoms:

  • Pain or irritation around the penis
  • Itching or burning either beneath the foreskin or around the head of the penis
  • White discharge that looks something like cottage cheese and has a foul odor
  • Blisters, abrasions, or sores on the penis
  • Problems retracting the foreskin
  • Pain during urination and sex

Having a penile yeast infection can also make the skin sensitive and prone to peeling or irritation.

This applies even after the infection subsides.

The skin may get flaky and dry, develop crusts, and peel off.

What Causes A Penile Yeast Infection?

Candida yeast already lives on the skin and in the body, but certain conditions or factors cause the yeast to grow and cause what is medically known as an opportunistic infection.

The yeast grows when placed in a moist and warm environment, which is common in the groin area already.

However, other conditions can contribute to Candida growth, including:

  • Poor penile hygiene
  • Not rinsing harsh soap from the skin properly while showering
  • Leaving the skin wet for prolonged periods
  • Using certain personal hygiene products that cause irritation
  • Having damaged, inflamed, or irritated skin

What Are The Risks Of Penile Yeast Infections?

Some men are at a higher risk of getting a yeast infection because their immune system is not offering the fullest level of protection.

Men who may be at a higher risk of penile yeast infection include those who:

  • Have uncontrolled diabetes
  • Have HIV/AIDS or other illness that compromises the immune system
  • Wear tight-fitting clothing or underwear
  • Are not circumcised
  • Are overweight

Antibiotics can also disrupt the healthy bacteria that normally keep yeast levels low, so taking antibiotics can directly contribute to a yeast infection.

This is especially a risk for men who are on antibiotics for long periods of time.

Can males get yeast infections from their female partners?

One big question men often ask is: Can men get yeast infections from their partners?

Yes, yeast infections can also be passed from one partner to the next during sex.

Men can develop a penile yeast infection after contact with a female with a yeast infection and vice versa.

Therefore, extra precautions should be taken to avoid passing the infection to one another if either partner is showing signs of infection.

Common Penile Yeast Infection Treatments

In most cases, yeast infection in men is successfully treated with antifungal medications that are available over the counter.

However, if over-the-counter medicines don't work or the situation is more severe, prescription antifungal medications may be necessary.

Topical antifungal medications that are often used to treat penile yeast infection and are available over the counter include:

  • Desenex
  • Lotrimin
  • Selezen

For more serious infections that don't respond to standard treatment, a doctor may prescribe an oral medication like Diflucan (fluconazole) or some type of hydrocortisone cream for topical application.

Men who are not circumcised and have ongoing problems with penile yeast infections may also need to consider talking to their doctor about circumcision.

How Long Does A Male Yeast Infection Last?

Penile yeast infection may subside without treatment, but it is far better to start using topical antifungal medication to overcome the infection quickly.

If you catch the issue early and start with antifungal treatment as soon as possible, a penile yeast infection should start to subside within one to two weeks of beginning treatment.

When Should I See A Doctor?

Most men don't need to see a doctor for penile yeast infection treatment, but professional evaluation may be necessary for some situations.

It can be a good idea to talk to a doctor if:

  • The infection does not subside with over-the-counter treatment
  • The issue is a recurrent problem
  • The infection does not completely go away with home treatment
  • The infection seems to be spreading to other areas of the body

Keep in mind that stubborn yeast infections that are hard to get rid of or keep coming back may be a sign of an underlying illness.

If you have ongoing issues with no other explanation, speaking to a healthcare provider is recommended.

Penile Yeast Infection Complications

In some situations, a penile yeast infection can create more concerning problems if the infection is not effectively treated.


Balanitis is one of the more common complications of a male yeast infection. The condition is characterized by severe inflammation of either the glans (head) or the foreskin of the penis.

Balanitis is especially painful—it can actually make it extremely difficult to urinate.

With time, the ongoing inflammation can cause foreskin scarring and penile adhesions.

If yeast infections commonly lead to balanitis in uncircumcised males, circumcision may be recommended as a solution.

Invasive Candidiasis

Untreated penile yeast infection can actually invade the bloodstream and lead to a host of more serious problems.

This condition is known as invasive candidiasis.

Invasive candidiasis most often occurs as a result of not treating the infection and allowing the yeast infection to spread.

However, the condition can also be more prevalent among men who have a compromised immune system or who have to rely on a catheter for long periods of time.

Treatment for invasive candidiasis usually involves oral antifungal medications but may require more intense intravenous treatment in the most severe cases.

How To Prevent A Penile Yeast Infection

In many respects, it is better to prevent penile yeast infection than to try to figure out how to get rid of male yeast infections after the fact.

And a few steps can make all the difference for most healthy men:

Follow good hygiene practices: Strive to keep all areas of the penis clean, always wash off soap, and always wear dry underwear.

Clean well if you are not circumcised: Use soap and water to clean beneath the foreskin, including after sex.

Practice safe sex: Wear a condom to prevent contracting a yeast infection from your partner.

Maintain a healthy weight: Weight Loss or maintaining a healthy weight may also help prevent penile yeast infections.

Diabetics: Improving glucose control can often help with prevention.

If you already have an infection, also practice safe sex, so you don't transmit the infection to your partner. Recurrent infections can stem from passing the infection to one another repeatedly.

Takeaways To Remember

So, can guys get yeast infections?

Yes, they absolutely can, and the symptoms can be similar to those experienced by a woman.

When it comes to avoiding a yeast infection, penile cleanliness and hygiene are especially important. 

But, some men can be more likely to get these uncomfortable infections due to immune system issues, underlying illness, or even taking certain medications.

Thankfully, a penile yeast infection is usually easy enough to treat with certain over-the-counter medications.

Looking for a little help in the penis hygiene department?

Keep Promescent Before and After Wipes on your nightstand for convenient cleanup after your intimate encounters.

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky M.D. is an American Board Certified Urologist and earned his Medical Degree at New York University. In his tenure he became a member of the American Urological Association and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Kaminetsky pioneered the minimally invasive Rezum BPH treatment and is an expert in male and female dysfunction.


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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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