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Home / Thrush / How does thrush affect men and women differently?

How does thrush affect men and women differently?

Thrush, also known as Candidiasis, is a common fungal infection that can affect both men and women. It’s caused by the fungus Candida albicans that normally lives on the skin and mucous membranes inside the body. Under certain conditions, this fungus can grow out of control, causing thrush symptoms. But how does thrush affect men and women differently? Read on to find out.

Candida albicans

What causes thrush in men and women?

Candidiasis is common in both women and men, although it affects men less often than women. You may have heard it being mentioned or overheard someone talking about it. Maybe you even have it. But you might be wondering what it is caused by in men and women.

This whitish-grey fungus will often manifest itself on the vagina or on the head of the penis. Thrush is caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which lives in your mouth, digestive tract, and genital area. The yeast thrives in moist conditions and warm environments such as the mouth and genitals. It proliferates when the pH balance is disrupted, causing an overgrowth. Simple things like wearing tight clothing, poor hygiene, swimming in pools/hot tubs, having unprotected sex, washing with the wrong types of soap/shower gel, using intimate deodorants, douching or bathing in hot water can trigger a candida overgrowth to happen.

This can cause inflammation in many parts of the body. Candida infections are common in the genital area, in the mouth (oral thrush), or on the skin, but the genital area is the main focus of this article.

Can men get thrush?

It's important to note that while women experience thrush more often, men can also get thrush from time to time. Although it is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), men can still contract thrush by participating in sexual activity with female sexual partners who have the infection. Symptoms may not appear for days or weeks afterward.

Some other conditions may increase the risk of developing thrush; such as:

  • having diabetes
  • using antibiotics
  • having an immune system disorders (such as AIDS)
  • using steroid pills
  • going through chemotherapy
  • having a tight foreskin

A person might develop thrush if their immune system is weakened by chemotherapy or diabetes. It can also be triggered by taking antibiotics for another condition, which kill the natural flora in your body and allow yeasts to grow and thrive.

Thrush symptoms in men

Male thrush is characterized by the inflammation of the glans, the head or tip of the penis (also often known as balanitis). This can be caused by the overgrowth of candida yeast. Thrush is easily identified by the white, cottage cheese-like discharge that develops under the foreskin. This can cause discomfort and can lead to secondary infections.

Men don't tend to show symptoms as severely as women, but that doesn’t mean that one is more immune to the condition than the other. Men will experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • a red rash at the tip of the penis
  • white discharge from the tip of the penis
  • burning sensation in the affected area
  • pain and swelling when urinating

You might also find yourself having trouble pulling back the foreskin of your manhood (phimosis).

These symptoms can be treated in a number of ways, but one common treatment is antifungal prescription tablets, read more below.

Man holding his groin

Oral thrush in men

Thrush infection of the mouth in men is a common problem. When thrush is inside the mouth, it is referred to as oral thrush. When it affects the mouth, the candida fungus can cause a sore tongue, a white coating on the tongue and white patches on the inside of the cheeks. In some cases, it can also cause a sore throat or white/yellow patches in your mouth.

The symptoms of oral thrush include:

  • white patches on the tongue or inner cheeks (this is most common)
  • white patches inside the mouth (less common)
  • bleeding gums (not usually painful)
  • changes in taste
  • soreness in the mouth or throat

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should go see your doctor immediately. They will either prescribe oral medications or tablets to rid you of this fungal infection.

Male tongue with thrush

Thrush symptoms in women

Thrush is a common condition that affects nearly every woman at some point in her life. In fact, it is estimated that 75% Trusted source University of Manchester Educational Institution Multidisciplinary Studies Go to source of all women will have a vaginal yeast infection at least once. But this doesn't mean that all women will experience symptoms of a yeast infection. Some women may never know that they have thrush because they don't experience any symptoms at all.

Woman suffering from thrush

The first symptoms are usually a red, sore genital. It is accompanied by other signs, including:

  • Itching and burning in and around the vagina and vulva (the external genital area)
  • wetness or changes in vaginal discharge
  • unpleasant smell (fishy odor)
  • pain during sex

Thrush in women can be painful and uncomfortable. If you've noticed any of these symptoms, you'll want to know how you can treat them as soon as possible. To find out more about the treatments, continue reading.

How to treat thrush?

There are key differences in the treatments available to men and women, who can both suffer from thrush.

Thrush treatment for women

For vaginal thrush, female patients are often first prescribed Gyno-daktarin cream to be inserted into the vagina. This antifungal cream is used to get rid of thrush in women at the source of the infection. Gyno-Daktarin cream can also be applied to the outer vagina area (vulva) to treat fungal infection in this area and help relieve the associated itching.

A doctor may prescribe Gyno-Daktarin cream to women with vaginal thrush as an alternative to taking oral antifungal medicine.

Woman applies cream

This thrush cream for women is white in color, and it is used to treat vaginal thrush by preventing the growth of the yeast that causes the overgrowth. It contains 20 mg of the active ingredient miconazole nitrate. It is suitable for use by most adult women.

This medication is only available through prescription, so make sure to speak with a certified doctor before using it!

A lot of people find it difficult to talk about unpleasant symptoms face to face with a doctor; the symptoms associated with thrush are no exception. Our online pre-treatment questionnaire guides you through getting the treatment that's just right for you, without a visit to the GP.

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Select your preferred medication and start your online consultation. You will be evaluated by a health professional based on your answers to determine if Gyno-daktarin is the right treatment for you.

Click the link above to receive your free consultation with our certified GP’s and discover if Gyno-daktarin can help you today!

Can men use the same thrush treatment as women?

In short, yes. In fact, the most common medication used/prescribed to treat thrush is often the same for both men and women. Thrush can be treated with the antifungal medications Diflucan (Fluconazole), a prescription pill that can be taken orally used for treating yeast infections, as well as other fungal infections (skin conditions and nails).

The most common medication used to treat thrush in men and women is Diflucan (Fluconazole). Diflucan relieves itching and burning associated with the yeast infection.

This medication isn't suitable for everyone and it's important to ensure you tell your doctor before you take it if you have any medical conditions.

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Woman taking thrush medicine

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Thrush can happen to anyone. Treatment generally involves using an antifungal cream or tablet, which are only available via online prescription at euroClinix. If you're experiencing thrush, you can order the treatment online and get it delivered at your doorstep within 24 working hours. Consult euroClinix’s online doctors about potential treatment options for you.

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 24-03-2024
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Further reading

Thrush during pregnancy

Thrush during pregnancy

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
Recurring thrush: causes and treatment

Recurring thrush: causes and treatment

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
Male thrush: the symptoms to look out for

Male thrush: the symptoms to look out for

Reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho
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