Medical Q&As

Penile thrush

Recently, after having sex with my girlfriend the skin on my penis has been dry, itchy and flaky .It takes a long time to heal and makes regular sex uncomfortable. This has only started happening lately. Any suggestions?

This sounds like penile thrush, which is a fungal infection due to the fungus candida albicans. It is common practice to treat both sexual partners at the same time because each of them can infect the other. Your partner could well have thrush but have it in a mild form and might not have any significant symptoms. Therefore you would be at risk of catching it again if your partner was not treated. Sometimes a woman might present with vaginal thrush that recurs despite adequate treatment due to non-treatment of her sexual partner. This phenomenon of thrush passing from one to the other and back again is referred to colloquially as the “ping pong effect”. It is standard practice to treat the couple even if only one of them has symptoms.