Yes, it’s true, men can get yeast infections too. and not just thrush, the oral yeast infection that is common in men who are immune compromised. Men can get penile yeast infections. Not only that, but heterosexual couples who have unprotected sex can pass yeast infections back and forth endlessly, so it seems like it might be a good idea to learn more about male yeast infections and get your boy cleaned up if there’s reason to suspect he has a yeast infection of his own.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information available about penile yeast infections. I am working to update this page, based on the many emails i’ve received from helpful men. In the meantime, here’s the scoop.
Men get yeast infections for the same reasons that women do, although the likelihoods are different. The main causes of penile yeast infections are listed below.
SEXUAL TRANSMISSION: Candida can be transmitted between people by direct contact, and so can be considered a sexually-transmitted disease. A yeast-infected woman who has unprotected sex with a man can infect her lover, treat her own infection, and then get reinfected next time she has sex with him. If you or your lover has an active infection you should be extra-careful to follow safer sex guidelines until you are sure both of you are infection-free. During an infection or while being treated, refrain from vaginal intercourse, wash your hands or change your gloves in between touching your own crotch and your partner’s, and keep those sex toys really really clean.
ANTIOBIOTICS: Although far less common than sexual transmission, the other main cause of penile yeast infection is prolonged antibiotic use. The male body has a standard contingent of creatures that inhabit the crotch, and antibiotics can rid the body of the good ones, allowing the normally-occurring yeast to take over.
DIABETES: Men with diabetes are more susceptible to yeast infections, presumably because the elevated sugar in the urine makes for yummy yeast food. If you have frequent yeast infections and have other symptoms of diabetes, like you’re always thirsty and you have to urinate often, definitely go see a doctor.
It’s tricky to tell when men have yeast infections, because they can have a penile yeast infection without having symptoms. When they do have symptoms, it can be really awful; i was once told by an infected man that he “wished it would just fall right off.” Here are some signs of the dreaded penile yeast infection:
- The most common symptom is irritation and soreness of the head of the penis. Apparently it can itch like crazy, too.
- Yeah, men can get a discharge, including that clumpy nasty white stuff. Also, the head of the penis may turn reddish or get little blistery things.
- I haven’t heard of it smelling like anything, but if you can smell yeast, you better bet you should get your boy some treatment.
NOTE: According to the emails I get, the symptoms can be perilously close to those of genital herpes: little red itchy bumps are not uncommon with penile yeast infections. If you aren’t absolutely certain, go see a doctor for testing and diagnosis.