You may get the impression that yeast infection is a female-only disease, due to statistics showing its prevalence among women. However, it's entirely possible for men to get yeast infection too.
The species of fungus responsible for male yeast infection is the same for women, which is Candida. It lives on your skin, and can be sometimes found in your internal organs.
Normally, Candida doesn't cause any problems because your good bacteria (probiotics) keep it in check. However, if there's a sudden imbalance, yeast begins to spread rapidly, thus causing an infection.
Yeast infection in men is classified into two types: candidal balanitis, which is the inflammation of the head (glans) of the penis, and candidal balanoposthitis, which is inflammation of the foreskin (for uncircumcised males).1
Causes of Yeast Infection in Males
The most notable cause of male yeast infection is sexual intercourse with an infected partner, but the chances of getting it are actually slim. Up to 15 percent of male partners of women with yeast infection may only get the disease.2
However, note that yeast infection isn't considered to be a true sexually transmitted disease, because males can still get it even without being sexually active.3 Poor personal hygiene can cause yeast to thrive, especially among uncircumcised males.
Other reasons include a weakened immune system due to an illness, which allows Candida to spread. Using soaps that irritate your skin and wearing tight-fitting underwear have been linked as a cause as well.
Long-term antibiotic use is another noted cause for yeast infection. Antibiotics lower your probiotic count, allowing Candida to take advantage of the opportunity.4
Symptoms of Male Yeast Infection
Common symptoms of candida balanitis include:5
• Burning and itching around the head of the penis
• Redness and swelling
• Papules, which are small rash-like bumps that may contain pus
• Patches of shiny, white skin on the glans
• Irritation and soreness
For candidal balanoposthitis, a thick, lumpy discharge with an unpleasant odor may develop. You may develop phimosis as well, which is a condition characterized by having difficulty pulling back the foreskin.6
If you develop symptoms after sexual intercourse with an infected partner, it's best to get fully screened for sexually transmitted diseases as well.
When to See a Doctor
If it's your first time to experience the symptoms, consult with a doctor to help point you to the underlying causes, allowing you to follow a proper treatment plan. This will also help lower your chances of getting the infection again.
You may confuse yeast infection with "jock itch," which is a nickname for ringworm on the groin area. Jock itch produces rashes and itching similar to yeast infection, but it is caused by a different type of fungi called Tricopyhton.7 In either case, medical guidance is still advised, because jock itch is highly contagious and can spread to other areas in your skin if you're not careful.