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Candidal balanitis

Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 02.03.2023 | 2 min read

Candida is a common yeast causing a thrush infection. Warm damp conditions allow the yeast to grow, and cause symptoms. Candidal balanitis accounts for around 20% of cases of balanitis, with the majority being due to poor hygiene in uncircumcised men. Soreness rather than itchiness distinguishes it from other causes of a rash. In men, it can affect the penis and foreskin, causing candidal balanitis (balanitis is simply inflammation of the head of the penis).

##What are the symptoms of candida balanitis?

The usual symptoms of thrush infection of the head of the penis are that it is swollen, red and sore and there may be some difficulty in pulling the foreskin back. It may cause when peeing and there may also be a discharge under the foreskin that smells unpleasant.

Is it contagious?

It is not a sexually transmitted infection, although sex can instigate or aggravate it, and partners can also develop symptoms.

You can purchase over-the-counter thrush treatments from your local pharmacy. This can be in the form of a one-off anti-fungal tablet and/or a cream that can clear the infection and relieve the soreness and itchiness.

To help avoid candidal balanitis you can:

  • avoid wearing tight, restrictive or synthetic clothing

  • wear breathable cotton underwear

  • avoid using soap, deodorants, genital sprays, bubble bath, or any other potential irritants on the genital area – only use water to wash.

Caidr pharmacists' top tips

Candidal fungal infections such as thrush or candidal balanitis can easily be treated by using an antifungal cream such as those containing clotrimazole such as Canesten, or containing miconazole such as Daktarin.

The creams should usually be applied twice a day for 7 to 14 days if using Canesten Thrush 2% cream, or up to 3 days after the rash has cleared.

Am I fit for work?

You are fit for work if you have candidal balanitis.

When should I see my doctor?

You should see your doctor or sexual health clinic if you have tried over-the-counter measures and the symptoms haven’t completely cleared up or have come back quickly.

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