Yes, men can get yeast infections, too, which can lead to a condition known as balanitis — inflammation of the head of the penis.
Yeast infections in men are common because the fungus that causes yeast infections (candida) is normally present on skin, especially moist skin. Having condomless sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, poor personal hygiene, excess moisture in the groin, and medical problems like diabetes can contribute to an overgrowth of Candida in men, causing redness and itchiness on the penis. When the inflammation and infection are on the head of the penis, it is called balanitis.
Balanitis is more common in uncircumcised men. Signs and symptoms of balanitis may include:
•Moist skin on the penis, possibly with areas of a thick, white substance collecting in skin folds
•Areas of shiny, white skin on the penis
•Redness, itching or a burning sensation on the penis
You may be more likely to develop balanitis from a yeast infection if you:
•Use antibiotics for prolonged periods
•Have an impaired immune system, such as with HIV
•Practice poor hygiene
•Most male yeast infections are easily treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications.
Men with a yeast infection may not experience any symptoms or see any changes in the penile skin.
Over-the-Counter and Prescription Treatments
Common topical (you apply it directly to the penis) treatments to treat penile yeast infections include ketoconazole and clotrimazole. These medications are applied directly on the affected part of the penis or foreskin. These treatments generally work over seven to 21 days. Refraining from sexual activity or masturbation is recommended to allow proper healing when using topical treatments.
Another common topical is nystatin, which can be used to treat a male yeast infection but may be less effective than the medications mentioned above.
Preventing Male Yeast Infections
Obesity and diabetes are linked to an increased risk of yeast infections in men. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding diabetes are key to preventing male yeast infections.
Proper hygiene of the penis can also help prevent yeast infections. Daily hygiene tips for the penis include washing it carefully with warm water, avoiding the use of irritating soaps or gels, ensuring the penis is completely dry after washing, and avoiding excess moisture in the groin by wearing breathable underwear.
When to See a Doctor
If your OTC treatments don’t work or the infection recurs, it’s important to see your doctor for an evaluation and to rule out any underlying conditions that may be leading to recurrent yeast infections or undiagnosed cancers of the penis.