What Is an Anal Yeast Infection?

Fungal overgrowth in and near the anus

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An anal yeast infection is when a fungus called Candida grows in and/or around the anus. The infection may start there and spread to the penis or vagina, or vice versa, causing intense itching, redness, and a burning sensation.

Poor hygiene, humid climates, and hormonal changes are some possible causes. In otherwise healthy people, anal yeast infections are usually easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.

This article explains why anal yeast infections occur and the symptoms they can cause. It also discusses how the infection is diagnosed and treated, as well as how you can prevent one from coming back.

A shelf of medicines with a hand holding Monistat (Anal Yeast Infection Symptoms)

Verywell / Laura Porter

What Causes Anal Yeast Infections?

Like a yeast infection anywhere else in or on the body, an anal yeast infection is caused by the fungus Candida (why the condition is also called candidiasis).

It's not the presence of Candida that is the problem. The fungus is a part of the microorganisms that naturally live in and on the human body, which are not only usually harmless but helpful to your health.

It's when they overgrow that they become problematic, and such is the case with the fungal overgrowth that causes an anal yeast infection.

Yeast likes warm, humid conditions, so certain parts of the body—including places where skin touches, like the buttocks—are more likely to experience an overgrowth than others.

Yeast infections can start in the penis or vagina (other common overgrowth locations) and spread to the anus and surrounding (perianal) area. The reverse is also true.

Yeast infections can also be related to:

  • Antibiotic use (which can lead to an imbalance of these microorganisms)
  • Diabetes or high blood sugar
  • Hormonal changes (e.g., during pregnancy and while taking oral birth control pills)
  • Poor hygiene (which can create a warm, moist environment)
  • Weakened immune system

Symptoms of Anal Yeast Infections

The symptoms of an anal yeast infection show up around the perianal area unless the infection spreads to other parts of the body. Common symptoms of an anal yeast infection include:

  • Constant itchiness (pruritus ani)
  • Soreness
  • Burning sensation
  • Red, irritated, inflamed skin
  • Discharge or bleeding

Itching is typically one of the first symptoms of an anal yeast infection. While pruritis ani can occur for other reasons, fungal infections are thought to cause about 15% of cases.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

You should see a healthcare provider if:

  • This is the first time you are experiencing anal symptoms
  • You have frequent or recurring anal yeast infections
  • Your symptoms last longer than a week

To diagnose an anal yeast infection, your healthcare provider will:

  • Ask about your symptoms (e.g., when they started)
  • Ask if you've already tried treatments (e.g., over-the-counter products) and whether they helped
  • Do a physical exam of your perianal area
  • Take a sample from your skin to test for Candida growth

How to Treat an Anal Yeast Infection

Treatment of an anal yeast infection depends on how serious it is and your overall health.

Most of the time, yeast infections in healthy people are mild and are easy to treat—as long as they stick with the treatment until it’s finished. Treatment in those with a compromised immune system can be more difficult.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

There are many effective treatment options for yeast infections that you can purchase over the counter at your pharmacy. These products include antifungal ointments, creams, or suppositories. 

Common medications used to treat anal yeast infections include:

  • Monistat (miconazole)
  • Terconazole (terazol)
  • Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
  • Butoconazole (gynazole)

Can You Use Vaginal Yeast Infection Medications?

OTC yeast infection products like clotrimazole vaginal cream and Monistat (miconazole) are marketed for vaginal yeast infections, but you can use them for anal yeast infections as well.

Prescription Treatments

Your provider may have you start with an OTC cream or ointment that is applied to your skin. If these treatments don't work, they might want you to try taking an oral antifungal medication. 

Most mild-to-moderate yeast infections can be treated with a one-time dose of a medication called Diflucan (fluconazole).

For severe or recurring infections, you will probably need to use more than one medication for a longer treatment period. This may include:

  • Using ointments, creams, or suppositories daily for up to two weeks and then once weekly for a few months
  • Multiple doses of Diflucan (fluconazole) or Brexafemme (ibrexafungerp), a newer oral antifungal medication

Alternative Treatments and Natural Remedies

Natural and alternative treatments for managing anal and other yeast infections are popular, but they have not necessarily been proven to work. Here's a review of some of the limited research:

  • Tea tree oil: One study showed that tea tree oil could help to enhance the treatment of yeast infections. This study combined the oil with fluconazole medication to help treat recurring infections.
  • Ozonated olive oil: One study found that ozonated olive oil could be an effective topical treatment for yeast infections.
  • Garlic and thyme: One study compared a cream containing garlic and thyme to a clotrimazole (anti-fungal) cream. They found that both creams were equally effective in treating yeast infections.

These studies were not specific to anal yeast infections and more research is needed to draw any solid conclusions about the effectiveness of these treatments.

Before starting any alternative treatments, talk with your healthcare provider. These methods may not work, may interact with other treatments (such as medications) you're using, or could have side effects and risks you should know about. You also run the risk of the yeast overgrowth getting worse.

Can Anal Yeast Infections Be Prevented?

You can’t always prevent a yeast infection, but you can reduce your chances of getting one. 

Here are some steps to take to avoid anal yeast infections:

  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting, breathable clothing.
  • Wash and dry your body thoroughly when taking a shower or bath.
  • Change into dry clothing after working out or swimming.
  • Avoid putting scented products on your body when cleaning at-risk areas.
  • Use physical protection (e.g., condoms or dental dams) during sexual intercourse.
  • Maintain a body weight that supports your health.
  • Take a daily probiotic supplement and eat foods with probiotics, good bacteria that can help restore flora balance.
  • Limit foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar.


People can get yeast infections anywhere, including the anus. When a lot of Candida fungus grows between the buttocks, the overgrowth can trigger symptoms like intense itching, burning, and redness. 

Several OTC and prescription treatments can clear up an anal yeast infection, as long as you finish the entire course of treatment. Most anal yeast infections aren’t a reason to worry if you’re generally healthy. However, if you’re getting them a lot, talk to your provider.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ashley Braun, MPH, RD
Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and public health professional with over 5 years of experience educating people on health-related topics using evidence-based information. Her experience includes educating on a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, HIV, neurological conditions, and more.