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General Medical Questions
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Question : What are the symptoms of a yeast infection in a man? How is it treated?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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October 31, 2012
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A:

Yeast are tiny germs that are related to fungus. Normally, they live within the digestive tract. But yeast can also cause infections of many parts of the body including the mouth (thrush) and skin (“diaper rash”). Most of these infections are mild or harmless. In rare cases, yeast can cause serious internal infections.

Yeast are tiny germs that are related to fungus. Normally, they live within the digestive tract. But yeast can also cause infections of many parts of the body including the mouth (thrush) and skin (“diaper rash”). Most of these infections are mild or harmless. In rare cases, yeast can cause serious internal infections.

In women, the most common place for a yeast infection is the vagina. Three-quarters of women will develop a yeast infection at some point in their life. These infections are often triggered by antibiotics or hormonal changes. But they also happen for no reason at all.

In contrast, it is somewhat unusual for men to develop a genital yeast infection. Yeast can grow on the shaft of the penis (balanitis). This is more likely to happen in uncircumcised men. Yeast can also grow in the folds of skin where the scrotum touches the legs. Usually the affected area will be red, warm, itchy or painful. And often, there will be a strong-smelling discharge.

In most cases, there is a particular reason why a man develops a yeast infection. This might include poorly controlled diabetes, a weakened immune system or poor hygiene. Occasionally, yeast will grow simply because the affected skin is warm and moist and does not have adequate time to “air out.”

Most yeast skin infections are easily treated with a topical cream such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin, generic versions) and good hygiene. Sometimes doctors prescribe a single dose of an oral antifungal agent, usually fluconazole (Diflucan).

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