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Thrush in men

Thrush is caused by the yeast Candida albicans. It is not just a female problem men can have it too. In men, Candida can cause itching, redness and soreness of the glans (head of the penis) and the foreskin. In some men, the foreskin swells and becomes cracked; this is probably caused by an allergy to the yeast.

The medical term for redness and soreness of the glans is balanitis. Candida is the usual cause, but there could be other reasons (look at the section on Penis problems: red, sore and itchy). Therefore you need to check with your family doctor or go to a genitourinary medicine clinic. Also, thrush in men can be the first sign of diabetes, so your doctor will do a diabetes check.

How do you get thrush?

Thrush is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection, because many people already have small amounts of the Candida fungus. Whether or not it causes problems depends on the situation. Candida likes warm and moist skin, and skin that is already slightly damaged. It also thrives on the high sugar in people with diabetes. So if the skin of your genitals is already irritated by perfumes in soaps or shower gels, or if you are careless about drying yourself after washing, or if you have diabetes that is uncontrolled (perhaps because you are unaware you have diabetes), Candida is more likely to multiply. When it has multiplied, you may begin to notice symptoms.
If you have a regular female partner, it is quite likely that she will also be carrying Candida in her vagina. If she does not have symptoms, she probably does not need treatment. However, if you keep getting thrush, it might be worth her having treatment even if she has no symptoms.

Treatment for thrush

Thrush in men is usually cured easily with an antifungal cream. To prevent it coming back, take care over your choice of soaps avoid perfumed soaps and shower gels, and anything else that could irritate your skin.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, February 26th 2010


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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 02/08/2017 at 10:50

Am having constant itching on my penis and my scrotum has some small swollen on it ....its been embarrassing . please help

Posted by Optional on 10/06/2016 at 05:35

I've suffered from dryness on my penis quite often and have tried many creams etc. My wife and I have both had prescription treatments as well. Sometimes a topical cream would help at first but the dry, itchy skin would always come back. I happened to find an ointment called Psoriasin in the drugstore and gave it a try. It worked right away and within a few days to a week the skin was back to normal and the dryness and itching never reoccurred. Hope this helps.

Posted by Optional on 17/09/2015 at 10:45

It is very astonishing to know that the symptoms of diabetes is also thrush. Anyway it was great information to me. KNS BHUTAN

Posted by Optional on 28/08/2015 at 01:02

My boyfriend and I have unprotected sex and after he cleans himself he gets moist for days which is irritating to him because he is not use to it I've been tested negative for everything except HPV but my doctor says it has no effect what can it be?

Posted by SeanHH on 03/04/2015 at 05:05

I have used a penis health creme in the past and it really helped. I didn't have thrush but I had dry, itchy, flaky skin down there. It was very unpleasant but I felt the positive effects of the creme within a few days.

Posted by Optional on 20/01/2015 at 03:02

An additional option - follow up on treatment by using a penis health cream to support healthy skin and reduce the chances of further infections. A formula made with Shea butter works wonders for dry, itchy skin.

Posted by Optional on 21/12/2014 at 08:39

foreskin very sore when i pull it back underneath it is red and looks swollen small white flakes are all over penis, i wash every day with warm water

Posted by Optional on 06/12/2014 at 03:10

When my penis touches my wife's skin she seems to get a fungal infection, even if it is her breasts when we have had no vaginal intercourse for weeks. If we have vaginal sex then it will soon start to smell and become itchy. We have been checked for everything many times by useless GP's. We are all clear. The last one said we were just allergic to each other, but that doesn't really help. For 10 years sex always comes at that price. We have used more thrush creams than had hot dinners but it dies not have any effect. No sex then my wife's vagina clears up. My penis looks ok, some slight tiny spots perhaps. Don't know what to do. Could it be some more unusual infection that the complete GU unit does not routinely check for or is it just persistent Thrush! GP will never refer me and just says everything is fine. But the skin is peeling off my wife's breasts!

Posted by samuel on 02/12/2014 at 10:14

I have itch on my penis foreskin for more than 3 weeks now I see some white like pimple coming out on my penis foreskin. Pulse any one tell me what diseases is this .

Posted by Optional on 17/11/2014 at 11:01

I had an ingrown hair on penis shaft I exfoliated the area daily for a week till it went penis looked and felt great.i had sex with my pregnant girlfriend ..half an hour later I notice dry skin is peeling off only the bottom of my shaft and there is a huge reddish brown burn .. it looks like a carpet is ugly and a bit tender but not itchy or sore .what is it?? thrush? or have I scrubbed 2 much skin off so when I had sex it damaged the soft new I'm freaking out!!!

Posted by Optional on 15/09/2014 at 03:26

My boyfriend just told me that he has a bit of irritability in his genital area after having unprotected sex with me, and im not to sure what it is... he said he has the symptoms of thrush, but is that really bad and should he an I be worried and go and get ourselves checked out!!?? Please help!!! :S

Posted by Tina on 15/08/2014 at 07:24

I was a virgin when I had sex with my partner who has foreskin.we both get red and irritated like thrush.we have now been divorced fir 19 years.nevet had problems with other we are dating again and again the symptoms are back only with each other why is that.

Posted by Optional on 03/10/2013 at 11:34


Posted by Optional on 04/09/2013 at 11:20


Posted by Optional on 04/09/2013 at 12:30

Hie, I have a reddish spot on the head of my penis.Also my left testicle is more sensetive and causes discomfort wen I slightly touch.Its been a year now applying some antifungal cream but the spot comes and goes although I have no pain wen urinating I am just worried about the discomfort on my left testicle n the red spot on the head of my penis which comes and goes.

Posted by Robert on 20/07/2013 at 07:53

Over the counter antifugal cream recomended for Men Thrush. Thanks

Posted by Guest on 15/07/2013 at 07:04

My foreskin has white flaky stuff on top of it and on my balls also. I just got it a few days ago and before that I had cracks in my foreskin and it was a little tight. Plz help it appears as if there is dead skin on my balls and penis. Idk what to do!

Posted by Felix on 09/04/2013 at 10:15

the information is very educative.thank you and may God bless you all who patnered with you.Thanks

Posted by Optional on 09/01/2013 at 06:34

I was tested of having candida albicans, and my bf went for his test, and was tested of having staph aureus, how is it possible bcos wew have had sex in the time past, am suppose to contract his infection and he mine, pls advice

Posted by Help plz on 12/12/2012 at 09:45

Is it possible that it can cause pain while urinating? I Had problem almost year ago, i got temperature 39 and had white, cloudy, like curd or something, discharge. Later, when i recovered from temperature my sperm got watery, collorless fluid, it havent got that much better since then.. i sometimes get collorless and sometimes white disscharge from penis and now my penis' head is red and itches. Is this part of trush? Or it's something else?

Posted by Optional on 28/11/2012 at 07:28

Testicle swelling? Rash? Itchy? Tried everything? Try this, worked for me. Go to a sporting goods store, purchase rock climbing chalk. Apply this on and around infected area. Use alot. I suggest doing this is the bathroom as the powder will get everywhere. Use it 2+ times a day and let your sack air out. Walk around with a towel as much as possible and keep your legs open. If you ever feel your testicles get moist or wet, you're not putting it on enough. Also do it right before you go to bed.

Posted by Guy on 23/11/2012 at 04:10

Dear, After noticing itchy red pimples with pus under my foreskin and consulting a doctor, a swab came back positive for Klebsiella spp. I'm treating it for now with a cream and have stopped washing with Dove shower gel. My problem seems related to this article so I thought posting my questions here could help others: Is that bactery considered an STD when symptoms develop in that region? What would be the most likely cause to get such infection under the foreskin? Is it transmissible to sexual partners and if so, how long after symptoms have subsided is it safe to have unprotected sex (with your regular partner that is)? Thank you for any clarification you can bring on this subject. Regards Guy

Posted by on 19/11/2012 at 03:26

Thanks for your comment JP. Let us know how you get on, and help others to Tackle it, move on.

Posted by on 19/11/2012 at 03:24

To Optional, 11/11/2012, you might find Dr Phil's tips on how to clean your penis helpful. See his video, the Penis, Part 1:

Posted by Jp on 19/11/2012 at 03:42

My symptome is more like a a "flaky" dry skin. but it does come off in either small or large bits. I am still looking but this maybe correcct. I have a doctors appointment in about 10 days, so will discuss it with him

Posted by Optional on 11/11/2012 at 05:28

im 15 never had sex and my foreskin is very red and my skin is starting to peel off, does anyone no what is wrong?

Posted by Optional on 11/11/2012 at 02:57

My penis smells so i went to the doctor and he gave me a cream. Ge told me if it is still there in 2 weejs call back so.i did and he said keep on using the cream its 2months now and i still have this problom any solutions

Posted by Optional on 17/10/2012 at 10:04

i hava some red non itchy rashes on my testis and base of pennis what will be the reason and cure for this.

Posted by Optional on 27/09/2012 at 03:23

hi my cock is itchy and swollen just below the head. is this thrush?

Posted by Optional on 18/09/2012 at 12:12

Hey there. I got a dry skin on my pennis head I'm treating becouse I had a bit of red dots on my pennises head the dots have gone but the dry skin is still there only when I get a full boner Don't know why I'm a bit confused

Posted by Optional on 04/04/2012 at 08:10

it is not the website's fault Me and my partner have both been having a white thick discharge from are genital area we have no other syptoms altho I find the discharge to be smelly, I just don't seem to be able to work out what it could be as the symptoms seem to change depending on sex and as we only have the one syptom between us I'm finding it hard to diagnose. Thank You for your time

Posted by Optional on 15/03/2012 at 10:04

I have had thrush or candida on and off for 2 years and I was scared to consult a doctor. I was avoiding sexual relationships with anyone when it would happen. Red dots, smell, peeling of skin are all normal symtoms, this thing poisoned my life for two years I really thought I had a STD. After finally getting tested they told me I had thrush. What a realief, the cause was that I was washing my penis with soap everyday, and also because I had alot of humidity around the groin region, because I didn't shake my penis properly after urinating. After washing with a very mild soap and solving the humidity problem, It disappeared. A steroid cream helps alot to. Questions?

Posted by Optional on 14/01/2012 at 11:26

Christ. I could scratch my penis with steel wool and IT STILL WOULDN'T STOP ITCHING. I don't know what's wrong with me. A lesson for this generation: Wash your dragon frequently. And never love a woman that isn't clean.

Posted by mr lova lova on 23/12/2011 at 11:03

i have been using canesten hc cream and its dried the area up cause i had tight foreskin ,have been told to stop using it by doctor after a week i used it for 10 days it had started to peel a layer flaking skin off my penis now the redness has gone and i can pull foreskin back without pain pharmacist says use e-45 non perfume soaps or shower gels so see if it stops the peeling. not had intercourse for a week so will try see if any reaction happens after i do been tested for thrush chlamydia etc all clear so will try e-45 for a while hope that helps.LL

Posted by Optional on 02/10/2011 at 04:54

This post helped me a lot. I had uncontrolled diabetes and a lot of penis smegma. Now that my diabetes is under control my problems with smegma has decreased.

Posted by chris on 21/06/2011 at 10:57

I just want to say thank u I've been trying to figer out what was wrong with my penis for 9 yrs the family doc. Had no idea been to the er numoris times to no end now I can fix my problom. So thank u vary vary much.

Posted by Optional on 24/05/2011 at 10:00

why does this site presume that the partner is male. what about lesbian relationships?

Posted by jharna on 12/05/2011 at 08:49

Use antibiotics properly and avoid prolonged use or inappropriate .Avoid too many antibacterial lozenges .If you have diabetes, good blood glucose control reduces the thrush and other infections.

Posted by Neut on 03/03/2011 at 05:29

I'm nervous I may have this even at this young age and I have had a blood test recently and I don't have diabetes but I admit I have been eating bad and I was wondering is the thrush stuff white kid of because when I look at my penis I notices there is white stuff on it sometimes and I wipe it off with baby wipes am I going to be ok? I'm extremely nervous

Posted by Optional on 03/02/2011 at 12:28

After giving oral sex to my partner I found white small spots on my tongue, my tongue is also very rough, a bit sore and my throat feels tight. I think she has given me oral thrush. GRRRR

Posted by swoll on 15/10/2010 at 05:29

i am circumsized n t double layer of skin before the tip of my penis is swollen i have no sores or ne thing just swollen n my penis n scrotum were itchy 2 days prior i used hand lotion masterbating n after that it started now 4 days later its a lil itchy n swollen

Posted by Optional on 01/10/2010 at 01:42

I had unprotected sex with a fefale about a year ago.A stupid drunking mistake, anyway the following weeks the tip of my penis was really itchy and there was a really heavy feeling in the tip of my penis(urethra) also noticed inside where i was feeling the dicomfort was redish, Almost like a red spot to be honest.The itchiness went away however the dull heavy feeling is still there. It comes and goes. Ive been cheched for stds twice everything came back clear had mention this to issue but as far as doctor was concerned i was ok. Went to local GP, where i was giving a thrush cream this has not worked. I just wish i knew what it was, it begining to get to me a little now any ideas would be much appreciated.

Posted by Optional on 23/09/2010 at 12:41

my penis is beat red with little bumps you can feel and itching really bad help

Posted by Optional on 27/08/2010 at 07:36

feel as i have oral thrush or some problem like that

Posted by Optional on 23/08/2010 at 12:58

My male partner has diabetes but I am always the one who gets the symptoms of his thrush. what can we do? help

Posted by David on 30/05/2010 at 12:04

I am diabetic and for the last two years had had sunburn-like pain in my penis after sex or masturbation. My wife, also a diabetic, gets yeast infections, and her vagina itches badly after sex. We seem to be passing it back and forth. Will her vibrator use make the condition worse? I also have sores on my butt, across my belly, and on my scalp. My doctor (a female) says we just need to get my diabetes in check. It seems to be so much more that diabetes.

Posted by Optional on 24/05/2010 at 10:52

My son has an itchy scrotum & penis which is red with dry skin patches & spots on bottom, top of legs & lower abdomen.It has been diagnosed as chicken pox but is third time he has had same symptoms & no spots anywhere else only nappy area. I have tryed leaving nappy off in daytime but no change. Spots are red at first which resemble insect bites then when redness goes he's left with a raised dry lump that is not itchy...

Posted by Ken Carroll on 28/10/2009 at 05:43

I have diabetes and am having problem with my penis. It is red and sore and cracked. I think it may be thrush What is the anti fungal cream to buy

Posted by Ben k on 23/08/2009 at 11:57

I tested +ve to S. aureus, E. coli, Klebsiella sp. and pus and epithelia cells in my urine test; VRDL result was non-reactive, got treated with Ceftriaxone iv, Gentamycine, Ciproxicillin and flucloxicillin. Upon 2 to 3 reviews Re>10/1. Two months later, itchy bump has developed on my scrotum which refused to respond to treatment with penicillin V after it had developed into sore. It responded when i later took Amoksiklav 625mg. Three others have appeared including 1 on my pennis. They've refused to respond to Cetriaxone Cetirizine hydrochloride, flucloxicillin, Grisofulvin and Vit C treatment. I've just seen Pus after squeezing my pennis. What is wrong with me? I'm becoming more and more frustrated.

Posted by in_need07 on 17/08/2009 at 10:30

How do i treat an infection at the base of the glans where thin whitish films of the skin comes out. I'm married, & this usually occur after sex.

Posted by Nana on 29/01/2009 at 09:51

Hi. I just discovered i had candida th other day. Please read through these pages n keep th info cause it's all very true n non scary. Just remember to wash underwear thoroughly n hang till completely. And for the ladies, wear a panty liner if yr going to insert a pessary.


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