People often ask the question, “Can men get yeast infections?” The answer is a resounding “Yes”. But the confusion lies in the fact that much more is written about vaginal yeast infections (or vaginal thrush) than the infections that are specific to men.
Yeast infections in men are caused by the Candida yeast, a type of fungus that is both a normal flora and a disease causing pathogen if it multiples out of control. There are at least 20 species of Candida, with Candida albicans being the most commonly associated with infections. Candida infections (or Candidiasis) can affect many different parts of the body.
Yeast infections occurring in both men and women:
- Infections that form under skin folds, armpits, on the skin under the diaper in babies (see diaper rash remedies) – in fact any part of the body that is warm, moist, dark and airless for prolonged periods of time. This is a superficial form of the disease that typically appears as a flat, reddish rash with defined edges. The patches are often irritated and itchy, can become scaly.
- Oral thrush (or Candidiasis of the mouth), another superficial form of the disease, where white patches form on the tongue, roof of the month or gums that cannot be easily scraped away. There is normally redness underneath and around the white patches. In some instances the tongue can become very red but without any white patches.
- A yeast infection can take hold in internal organs such as the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus and stomach. In severe cases this can cause painful ulcer like lesions and also affect the absorption of food in the intestines.
- Systemic (body-wide) forms of the disease are rare but can occur if Candida gets into the bloodstream. This is a serious condition that can result in a wide range of symptoms both physical and behavioral such as depression, fatigue, digestive problems, joint pain, migraines, ‘brain fog,” and irritable bowel disease.
Yeast infection men:
- Yeast infections affecting the penis (often referred to as male yeast infection or even thrush in men) resulting in irritation, soreness, reddish patches and itchiness of the head and shaft of the penis. The infection is sometimes associated with a slight discharge and pain while urinating. Sex with an infected partner can also be the cause. See more on yeast infection and sex.
- Jock itch, the colloquial term for an itchy, red rash of the inner thighs and scrotum. It is not always associated with a Candida infection and is usually classified as a “ringworm” or “tinea” infection caused by a dermatophyte fungus. Read more about fungus on skin. The rash can also simply be the result from friction, excessive humidity and wearing tight clothing. See more on skin rashes that itch.
Treating yeast infection in men
Even if a yeast infection is restricted to a small, superficial part of the body, it is important to seek treatment quickly so that it does not progress into a more serious condition. A wide range of options for treating male yeast infection are available. Some are designed to alleviate the symptoms while others (including dietary approaches such as the Candida Diet) seek to address the root cause of the disorder.
For more information on treatment, including options for men and yeast infections, click through to our page on yeast infection treatment.