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Candidiasis, men - Diagnosing thrush in men

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Visit your GP if you think you have the

symptoms

of thrush (either on your penis or skin) and you do not have a history of the condition.

This is because there may be underlying factors that need further investigation. For example, you may have undiagnosed diabetes. Alternatively, your symptoms may be caused by something other than thrush, such as a bacterial skin infection.

If you have a previous history of thrush that has been diagnosed, you usually do not need another diagnosis unless it fails to respond to treatment.

Thrush can be diagnosed by your GP or by visiting your nearest local sexual health or genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Find a clinic.

Your GP or a doctor at the GUM clinic can confidentially diagnose thrush by physically examining the head of your penis or the affected area of skin.

Further testing is usually only required if:

  • your symptoms are severe
  • your symptoms persist despite treatment
  • you have recurring episodes of thrush

Testing usually involves using a swab (a small plastic rod with a cotton ball on one end) to obtain a small tissue sample from the affected body part. The tissue will be tested for the presence of any infectious agents, such as the Candida albicans fungus.

You may also be referred for a series of blood and urine tests to check whether an underlying condition, such as diabetes, is making you more vulnerable to thrush.

Recurring thrush

If you have had thrush in the past and you recognise your symptoms, over-the-counter treatments from your pharmacist can help clear up the infection.

If you keep getting thrush, or it does not clear up with treatment, visit your GP so they can investigate and recommend appropriate treatment.

If you are a heterosexual man and have thrush, it is likely your partner may also have the condition. This is because the candida fungus often lives inside the vagina. It is therefore a good idea for both of you to get treatment in order to prevent the infection being passed back and forth between you.

Medical Review: June 09, 2012
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