A penile yeast infection is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This fungus also is responsible for yeast infections in women, though vaginal yeast infections are far more common. Candida is present in normal amounts in many areas of the body, but it can cause problems when it becomes overgrown. As evidenced by the name, a penile yeast infection affects a male’s genital area, typically in the glans, or tip of the penis.
If a man has this kind of infection, he might notice burning or itching at the tip of his penis, often accompanied by reddish bumps or a rash. He might experience more pain or irritation directly before or after sexual intercourse. In some cases, this infection could cause discharge from the tip of the penis. Some men might have an infection but not notice any symptoms.
It is possible for a man to get an infection after having unprotected sexual intercourse with a woman who has an active vaginal yeast infection. In some cases, sexual partners who have gone untreated can even transmit a yeast infection back and forth. If a woman is infected, though, it does not necessarily mean that her partner will become infected. If either partner has a genital yeast infection, it is a good idea to refrain from sexual intercourse until he or she is treated.
A man is more likely to develop a yeast infection if he recently has finished a course of antibiotics or has used antibiotics for an extended period of time. Men who have diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other illnesses that suppress the immune system might also be more susceptible. Uncircumcised men also could be at greater risk.
Treatment for this condition is similar to that of a vaginal yeast infection. Many men are able to treat the infection with over-the-counter anti-fungal methods. If these treatments are ineffective, or if the infection recurs, a man can see his doctor for a prescription treatment option. A common prescription treatment is the oral medication fluconazole.
Even though penile yeast infections are fairly uncommon, they can cause very unpleasant symptoms that can interfere with a man’s life and his normal functioning until they are treated. If a male has ongoing or recurrent itching, burning, discharge, bumps, rashes or blisters on his penis, he should seek the advice of a physician. This condition has symptoms similar to those of herpes or other sexually transmitted infections, so it is advisable to get an official diagnosis to determine the correct course of treatment.