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Thrush in men

Thrush is a common yeast infection but is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).  Both men and women can get thrush, though it’s more often associated with women. In men, it usually affects the head of the penis - causing irritation, discharge, and redness.

Thrush isn't usually anything to worry about in most cases, but it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Thrush can usually be treated with medication available from pharmacies, your GP or any of our clinics.


If symptoms do appear, they can include:

  • irritation, burning or itching under the foreskin or on the tip of the penis
  • redness, or red patches under the foreskin or on the tip of the penis
  • a discharge under the foreskin that may look like cottage cheese - there may also be an unpleasant smell
  • difficulty pulling back the foreskin of your penis


Most people with thrush will not need a test. If you suspect thrush for the first time, you can try an over-the-counter remedy from your local pharmacy.

If you think you have any symptoms or need further treatment, you should:

  • freephone 0300 123 5474 (8.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Fri)
  • come along to one of our walk-in and wait clinics:

*Our walk-in and wait clinics offer limited slots and operate on a first come first served basis. When clinics are at full capacity, patients asking to be seen will be triaged and those who fit our urgent criteria will be a priority. At busy times we may need to signpost non-urgent cases to other clinics or recommend patients make an appointment for an alternative day or suggest a return visit. 


You can treat thrush without prescription medications.

For thrush affecting your penis, the commonest treatments are clotrimazole cream or a tablet called fluconazole. For thrush infections in your groin or elsewhere, the pharmacist can advise on which treatment may be best for you.


You can help prevent thrush by: 

  • cleaning your penis regularly and using a condom while having sex with your partner
  • avoiding the use of perfumed soaps or shower gels on your genitals, as they can cause irritation. Make sure you dry your penis properly after washing
  • wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear can help prevent moisture building up under your foreskin, which lowers the chances of the candida yeast multiplying


More information

Visit NHS Choices - thrush in men.

For further advice, please take a look at the leaflets produced by The Family Planning Association.


Last updated: 16/06/2023