Diagnosing thrush in men 

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

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

Thrush can be diagnosed at:

  • your GP surgery
  • your local sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic  find a clinic
  • some contraception clinics and young people's services

Thrush is diagnosed by a physical examination of the head of your penis or the affected area of skin.

It's important to get thrush diagnosed in case the symptoms are caused by a different condition, such as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a bacterial skin infection.

Further testing

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 that 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 to prevent the infection being passed back and forth between you.

Page last reviewed: 13/10/2014

Next review due: 13/07/2017