Here’s What a Male Yeast Infection Feels Like, Says a Doctor

Updated: Jan. 26, 2024

Think yeast infections are reserved for the ladies? Male yeast infections can occur, too—a New York City doctor of sexual health breaks down how to identify one.

When you hear the words “yeast infection,” it might seem like a health problem only females have to face. However, experts say that a gentleman who’s experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms could be experiencing a male yeast infection.

Doctor of sexual and reproductive health, Meleen Chuang, MD, a clinical associate professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, tells The Healthy @Reader’s Digest guys may experience yeast infections a little differently than women do even though they’re caused by the same fungus.

Symptoms of a male yeast infection

Not unlike how women experience them, a male yeast infection feels like itching on the skin around the genital area. For women, the discomfort often occurs topically, on the skin’s surface, with the sensation of internal irritation also accompanying. (Eesh.)

Dr. Chuang lists the main symptoms of a male yeast infection: “Men have more external symptoms of itching rash on the penis, scrotum, groin with redness skin breakdown soreness and sometimes a thick white discharge.”

You may notice that the head of your penis looks a little inflamed. That’s called balanitis, and it may be more common if you’re on antibiotics, have not been circumcised, have diabetes or another immune-impairing illness, are overweight, or have poor hygiene.

Another male yeast infection symptom may show up as moist skin on your penis, and may have areas of a white substance in the folds of skin. The skin may look shiny. Overall, male yeast infection symptoms follow a redness-itching-burning regimen.

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What are potential causes of a male yeast infection?

Candida is the broad genus name for the fungi that cause yeast infection. The fungus is a normal part of your skin’s microbiome, especially when it’s wet. When there’s too much, it may cause a male yeast infection.

Everything from poor hygiene to harsh soaps and not drying off well enough can cause too much Candida. You can also get the infection from having sex with a partner who has a vaginal yeast infection.

If you think you have a male yeast infection, you can try an antifungal cream or head to the doctor. Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose your condition based on a brief exam, or may gently scrape off a specimen for a pathologist to confirm whether Candida is to blame.

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How does a man get rid of a yeast infection?

Ready to make the itching and burning hit the road? “Using ointment with antifungal for skin is very helpful,” she says.

When you head to the drugstore (or pop on Amazon Prime to order online), you might look for over-the-counter options like clotrimazole (Lotrimin) and miconazole (Monistat-Derm)—the creams most commonly used, according to Dr. Chuang. Nystatin is another cream that may help.

For a male yeast infection, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid or an oral antifungal medicine such as fluconazole (Diflucan).

Once you’ve gotten a product to deliver relief, stay vigilant. Keeping the area clean and dry is important, because it can prevent the infection from getting worse or spreading. It can take a few weeks for it to clear up, depending on the male yeast infection treatment you use.

Male yeast infections can go away on their own—but they’re likely to come back, Dr. Chuang says, especially if you’re not circumcised.

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