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Thrush in men explained

The information provided herein does not constitute an expert or medical advice, nor intended to replace such advice.

Men Health

Thrush in men?

Candidiasis, also known as thrush, is a common fungal infection that can affect different parts of your body. Though thrush is often commonly associated more closely with women, it is also possible for men to get thrush.Though thrush is often commonly associated more closely with women, it is also possible for men to get thrush.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about thrush in men including causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention. 

Thrush in men 

Yeast infections are caused by an imbalance in a fungus called Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a natural organism that lives in or on our bodies. 

Thrush is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Normally, candida lives in balance with other microorganisms in our body, but it is possible for Candida albicans to become imbalanced in the body when good bacteria in the body is depleted.When Candida albicans becomes imbalanced, it can lead to thrush affects the head of the penis, the foreskin, the mouth and other areas of the body covered by a mucous membrane

Causes of thrush in men

Thrush is caused by the Candida albicans fungus, it is possible for Candida albicans to become imbalanced in the body when good bacteria in the body is depleted. This is most likely to occur when: 

  • You have recently taken a course of antibiotics
  • You have poor personal hygiene 
  • You do not dry your penis thoroughly after washing 
  • You used perfumed soaps or cleansers on the penis
  • You have a weakened immune system and/or living with a health condition such as HIV or diabetes 

If you are healthy, and are not on any medications, it’s important to remember that Candida tends to grow in warm and moist conditions according to the NHS.

Make sure that you regularly wash your genitals and dry them thoroughly afterwards, do not use heavily perfumed soaps or lotions. You should also opt for underwear make of breathable, absorbent fabrics, such as cotton.

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Symptoms of thrush in men

Some of the common symptoms of penile thrush in men include: 

  • White, thick discharge that resembles cottage cheese at the tip of the penis or under the foreskin
  • Redness under the foreskin or at the head of the penis  
  • Itching under the foreskin or at the head of the penis
  • Burning under the foreskin or at the head of the penis
  • An irregular, “yeasty” smell from the point of infection. Thrush won’t smell “fishy”
  • Swelling around the foreskin
  • Pain during urination 
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination or sex

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Some of the common symptoms of oral thrush in men may include: 

  • Creamy white lesions on your tongue and inner cheeks
  • Creamy white lesions (sometimes) on the roof of your mouth, gums and tonsils 
  • Creamy white raised bumps in the mouth 
  • Redness in the mouth and throat
  • Burning or soreness in the mouth or throat 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bleeding in the mouth or throat 
  • Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth 
  • Lowered sense of taste
  • Redness, irritation and pain under dentures

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How does a man get thrush?

Thrush is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection because it can be transmitted without having sex. 

In saying that, the fungus associated with thrush, Candida, may be be passed via sex, and sexual activity can make thrush symptoms worse.

The causes of thrush as outlined above, such as poor hygiene, over-washing, the use of anti-biotics, having a weakened immune system are the leading ways that a man may get thrush. 

How common is thrush in males?

Thrush is a common issue in males. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thrush incidence declined during 2008–2013 and then stabilized at approximately 9 cases per 100,000 population during 2013–2017.

The CDC states that improvements in thrush numbers related to healthcare delivery improvements such as those involving catheter care and maintenance. Increases in incidence for certain surveillance areas may be due to increases in the number of candidemia cases related to injection drug use, which has recently been re-emerging as a risk factor for candidemia.

What happens if thrush goes untreated in males?

If left untreated, a yeast infection may enter the bloodstream. This is known as candidemia or invasive candidiasis.

An untreated yeast infection in men may also lead to a condition called balanitis. Balanitis is an inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis. 

Left untreated, balanitis may cause scarring of the foreskin. It can also cause adhesions on the penis. The condition can be painful and make urinating more difficult. If untreated, balanitis can cause swollen and painful nodes, meatal stenosis (narrowing of the opening of the penis) and phimosis (difficulty to retract the foreskin).

Can a man give a woman thrush?

A man doesn’t necessarily give a woman thrush, since candida is present in all human beings. But although unlikely, it is still possible for sexual partners to contract candidiasis from each other.

Some of the most effective ways to prevent thrush include: 

  • Using a condom while having sex
  • Regularly cleaning your penis 
  • Avoiding perfumed soaps or lotions
  • Thoroughly drying the penis after showers or baths
  • Consulting with your healthcare professional if you are taking medications that make you concerned about your risk for getting thrush


Hannah Kingston

Hannah Kingston

Mar 25, 2022

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