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Home / Fungal balanitis

Fungal balanitis

Find balanitis treatment options available online at euroClinix

Balanitis is a male yeast infection that causes the head of the penis to become swollen, itchy and sore. It is a fairly common infection and affects around 3-11% Trusted source National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Government Source Biomedical Research and Literature Go to source of males during their lifetime.

Although it may be uncomfortable, there are antifungal treatments available. Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment for fungal balanitis.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 01-05-2024

What is fungal balanitis?

Fungal balanitis, also known as candida balanitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the head of the penis. It is more common in uncircumcised men, affecting around 1 in 30 Trusted source National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Government Source Biomedical Research and Literature Go to source uncircumcised males at some point in their lives.

It’s important to note that balanitis is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). While the actual condition cannot be passed on from one person to another, it is possible to transfer the organisms that cause balanitis.

What causes fungal balanitis?

Fungal balanitis is a penile yeast infection caused by the overgrowth of the yeast-like fungi, Candida albicans.

Our skin naturally has different types of yeast that live on it, including Candida. Normally, this doesn't cause any problems however, if there's an overgrowth of Candida, it can cause a rash or skin infection.

Balanitis is common in uncircumcised males due to the build-up of smegma beneath the foreskin. Smegma is a whitish substance which helps to lubricate the foreskin.

Poor hygiene and smegma buildup create a warm, moist environment for Candida to grow and thrive. This can lead to the infection.

How can I tell if balanitis is fungal or bacterial?

Bacterial balanitis and fungal balanitis are both infections that affect the male genitalia. Fungi are the most common overall cause of balanitis, followed closely by bacteria.

Here are the main differences between bacterial and fungal balanitis:

Bacterial balanitis Fungal balanitis
Cause Bacteria - most commonly Streptococci or Staphylococci. Usually caused by the yeast Candida albicans.
Symptoms Redness, swelling, pain, tenderness, and possibly discharge from the penis. It can also cause itching and irritation. Similar symptoms as bacterial balanitis but may also include a white, thick discharge or patches on the glans penis or foreskin. Itching and burning sensations are common.
Treatment Typically treated with antibiotics, either topical or oral, depending on the severity of the infection. Usually treated with antifungal medications, such as topical or oral antifungal drugs.

Overall, while both bacterial and fungal balanitis can cause similar symptoms, they have different causes and require specific treatments.

What are the risk factors for fungal balanitis?

This condition most commonly occurs in uncircumcised people. Other risk factors may include:

  • The presence of foreskin
  • Poor hygiene
  • Harsh soaps or lotions
  • STIs
  • Skin irritation or damaged skin
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Using condom catheters

Can someone who has been circumcised get balanitis?

Yes, balanitis can affect both circumcised and uncircumcised men. While men who are circumcised have a 68% lower prevalence of balanitis Trusted source National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Government Source Biomedical Research and Literature Go to source , they can still contract this condition.

What are the symptoms of fungal balanitis in men?

Some yeast infection symptoms in males may include pain, swelling and redness in the groin area.

Other symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Inflammation, itching and irritation around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
  • Tight, shiny, red skin on the head of the penis
  • Sores on the head of the penis
  • Soreness and discomfort
  • A tight foreskin and difficulty pulling this back
  • Thick, white discharge under the foreskin
  • An unpleasant smell
  • Difficulty pulling back your foreskin
  • Shiny sores or blisters on your penis
  • Painful sensation when peeing

How are male yeast infections diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose this condition by looking at your penis and foreskin. Signs such as a red rash, inflammation and white cottage cheese-like discharge may indicate a fungal infection.

Your doctor may also collect a sample of the skin for testing. This is done by gently scraping off some of the skin from the infected area. This will be sent to a lab to identify the cause.

How can I treat fungal balanitis?

The main treatment for confirmed fungal balanitis is topical Canesten (clotrimazole 1%). This is applied to the affected area 2 to 3 times daily for at least two weeks.

Doctors may prescribe an oral antifungal, such as Fluconazole 150mg for severe symptoms. This capsule is taken as a single dose.

If there is a lot of swelling and pain, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to help. It is usually used in addition to an antifungal treatment. Apply this as directed and contact your doctor if you have any concerns or side effects.

What can I do to help?

Practising good hygiene may help to prevent balanitis. Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Gently pull back your foreskin and wash the area with warm water to prevent a build-up of smegma
  • Dry the area after washing
  • Avoid irritants (such as strong shower gels)
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Choose condoms for sensitive skin
  • Wash your hands before peeing or touching your penis

Tips to prevent balanitis

Avoid irritants

Avoid irritants

Choose condoms for sensitive skin

Choose condoms for sensitive skin

Wear loose fitting clothing

Wear loose fitting clothing

Wash the area with warm water

Wash the area with warm water

Dry the area after washing

Dry the area after washing

Wash your hands before and after touching the area

Wash your hands before and after touching the area

Can I buy fungal balanitis treatment online?

If you think you may have fungal balanitis, you can purchase treatment online here at euroClinix.

First, you will need to complete an online consultation with one of our doctors. They will assess your symptoms to see what treatment is suitable for you. If they approve, your treatment will be sent to your chosen address.

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