Thrush can happen in men if they have sex with someone who has a thrush infection. Thrush in men is easily treatable with medication available in most pharmacies and through ZAVA.
Thrush treatment for men comes as an external cream or ointment and an oral capsule.
You can request thrush treatment at ZAVA without making an appointment. Fill out our questionnaire assessment and one of our doctors will review whether the treatment is suitable for you. We can then send the treatment in discreet packaging to your doorstep or you can collect it from your nearest Post Office.
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Symptoms & Treatment for Thrush in Men
Thrush in men is usually caused by a yeast infection that can be passed on from their sexual partner. Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but you can get it passed to you during sex.
It’s more common to develop thrush from sex if you:
- have a weakened immune system, such as from chemotherapy or taking certain medication
- have diabetes
- have taken a long course of antibiotics
Thrush in men is easy to treat. Your symptoms should resolve within a couple of weeks after starting treatment.
Thrush in men happens due to a yeast infection caused by the fungi Candida. Candida lives naturally on your body in many different places, like your skin, throat and intestines.
Drinking too much alcohol, sweating and eating a lot of sugar can cause thrush in men. Other reasons include taking antibiotics or other medication. Sometimes you can get thrush from your sexual partner.
The symptoms of thrush in men are usually harmless but may be uncomfortable. If you have thrush, you may have:
- thick, white penile discharge
- an unpleasant smell around your genitals
- irritation or a burning sensation around the head of the penis and underneath the foreskin
Your foreskin might feel tight and difficult to pull back. You might not get all these symptoms, but even having one of these can indicate having thrush.
These symptoms can be similar to having an STI. If you’ve had unprotected sex recently, it’s a good idea to get tested for an STI as well.
You can treat thrush in men using antifungal medicines, such as clotrimazole 1% cream. The external symptoms can be soothed using this cream while the internal infection can be treated with a single dose oral capsule.
The antifungal active ingredients in thrush treatment breaks down the cell membrane of Candida. This stops the fungi from growing and eventually dies off.
Keep in mind that antifungal creams may damage condoms or diaphragms. Try to avoid having sex until after the infection has cleared and for around 5 days after using treatment.
Clotrimazole 1% Cream
Clotrimazole 1% cream is an antifungal medicine that kills the Candida fungi that causes thrush. You can apply the cream 2 to 3 times a day on the affected areas around your genitals.
Your doctor will let you know how long to use the cream for, but generally you should keep using it for about 2 weeks. The infection might get better before that, but keep using the cream for the full duration to completely treat the infection.
This is a similar cream to Canesten cream for women.
Daktarin 2% Cream
Daktarin 2% cream contains the active ingredient miconazole. Miconazole works in a similar way to clotrimazole and breaks down the cell membranes of fungi. This kills the fungi and prevents them from replicating.
You can apply Daktarin 2 to 3 times a day for around 2 weeks. Gently rub the cream into the affected areas. Try to avoid washing your genitals for at least 30 minutes after the cream has been applied to allow it to absorb into your skin.
Daktarin is also used to treat other fungal skin infections, like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
Daktacort ointment contains miconazole, an antifungal, and a steroid called hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone reduces the inflammation and redness on your skin caused by the infection. Miconazole helps to kill fungi.
You can apply Daktacort ointment twice a day for around 2 weeks. If your symptoms do not improve after 7 days of using the ointment, speak to your doctor.
Daktacort can be more suitable for you if your skin is inflamed and feels like it’s burning or itching. You should not apply Daktacort on broken or bleeding skin.
Fluconazole capsules are the only oral treatment available for thrush in men. Fluconazole is an antifungal medication that breaks down the cell membranes of fungi and stops them from growing.
To treat thrush in men, you take 1 Fluconazole 150mg capsule as a single dose with a glass of water. Fluconazole can be taken with or without food.
You can take a fluconazole capsule while using a cream or ointment to treat thrush. This way, you’ll treat the root cause of the infection while soothing the external inflammation on the skin.
Your doctor will usually diagnose thrush based on your symptoms. They will have a look at your skin. You may sometimes be asked to do a urine test or a swab test.
Sometimes, the symptoms of thrush and an STI can overlap. You may be asked to do an STI test if there’s a possibility you’ve had unprotected sex. This is to make sure there’s no other infection that might be causing your symptoms, like chlamydia.
You can get thrush treatment over the counter at your local pharmacy without making an appointment. Let your pharmacist know if you are taking any other medications as antifungal medicines may interact with them.
You can also request thrush treatment from ZAVA which may be more convenient if you’re unable to get to a pharmacy. We can deliver the treatment in discreet packaging straight to your doorstep, or to a nearby Post Office.
Taking thrush treatment may cause some side effects. Most of these side effects are temporary and will resolve within a few hours.
After using antifungal creams you may feel some irritation, burning or redness where you have applied the cream. These side effects are uncommon.
Fluconazole capsules can cause:
- nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
Taking antibiotics or antifungal medications can often make you feel sick. The bacteria living in your digestive system can be disrupted by the medicines and make you feel sick. As fluconazole is a single dose treatment, you should not feel these side effects for very long, if at all.
If you’ve had an allergic reaction to thrush treatment, contact 999 immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction includes:
- swelling of the face, throat or tongue
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- feeling dizzy or faint
- severe rash
When a man has a yeast infection, the skin on the penis will look red and inflamed. The rash may cause the skin to scale over, which means the skin might look cracked and dry.
If you’ve been itching a lot, the skin can become broken and start to bleed. You may also see a thick, white discharge come out of the tip of the penis or around the head or foreskin.
Mild thrush can go away on its own as your body will try to fight the infection without treatment. You can help recovery from thrush by following a few steps:
- wear cotton underwear that allows your skin to breathe
- only use water to wash your genitals
- dry yourself properly
- avoid wearing tight trousers
- if sex is uncomfortable, try to avoid it until you feel better
If your symptoms have not gone away by itself after a week, speak to a doctor or pharmacist as you may need treatment.
You can catch thrush through having sex with someone infected. While thrush is not an STI, the main cause of thrush in men is getting it through sex.
Thrush is a common infection in women as it can happen to them for many different reasons.
If you know your partner has thrush, try to avoid having sex until they have been fully treated.
You can request thrush treatment for women at ZAVA.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 04 Apr 2022
Thrush in men and women, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]
Vaginal Thrush, Patient [accessed February 2023]
Clotrimazole Cream 1%, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]
Daktarin® 2% w/w cream, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]
Daktacort® 2% / 1% w/w ointment, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]