What Is an Anal Yeast Infection?

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An anal yeast infection develops when fungus, Candida, grows around the anus. Yeast infections are usually mild in healthy people and easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.

Your healthcare provider can determine if a yeast infection is the cause of your symptoms and help you find the best treatment.

This article explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment of yeast infections. It also offers tips to prevent them from coming back.

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

Verywell / Laura Porter

What Is an Anal Yeast Infection?

Yeast infections can occur in any part of the body, but most often near these areas:

  • Folds of skin
  • Mouth
  • Penis
  • Vagina

An anal yeast infection affects the anus and the area around it (perianal).

Candida—the fungus that causes yeast infections—is a normal part of the flora of most people’s skin, mouth, digestive system, stool, and vagina. Flora refers to the microorganisms—bacteria, fungi, archaea, and viruses—that live in and on the human body. The flora can protect your health and help with digestion. But an overgrowth of Candida—caused by warmth or humidity—can trigger an infection. Yeast can also overgrow from:

  • Antibiotic use, leading to an imbalance in flora
  • Diabetes or high blood sugar
  • Hormonal changes, like during pregnancy and while taking oral birth control pills
  • Poor hygiene (which contributes to a warm and moist environment)
  • Weakened immune system

Symptoms

One of the first symptoms most people notice is itching in the perianal area. Pruritus ani is a common condition defined as the chronic itchy sensation of the skin around the anus. It’s estimated that fungal infections are responsible for about 15% of pruritus ani.

Anal yeast infections can spread in both directions: They can start in the anus and spread to the penis or vagina and also start in these areas and spread to the anus. The symptoms of an anal yeast infection show up around the perianal area unless the infection spreads to other parts of the body. Your symptoms may include:

  • Itchiness and soreness
  • Burning sensation
  • Red, irritated, inflamed skin
  • Discharge or bleeding

Diagnosis

While there are over-the-counter treatment options available for yeast infections, you should see a healthcare provider if:

  • This is your first yeast infection.
  • You experience frequent or recurring infections.
  • Your symptoms last longer than a week.

To diagnose an infection, your healthcare provider will likely:

  • Gather a history of your symptoms
  • Complete a physical exam of the perianal area
  • Take a sample to test for Candida growth

Treatment

The treatment of yeast infections depends on how serious the infection is. For most healthy people without a weakened immune system, yeast infections are not severe and easily treated. But the outcome depends on diligence. In other words, finish the entire treatment regiment to ensure the infection fully clears.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

There are many effective treatment options for yeast infections that you can purchase over the counter. They are available as antifungal ointments, creams, or suppositories. Common medications used to treat yeast infections include:

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

Vaginal Yeast Infection Meds

While most yeast infection medications are marketed toward treating vaginal yeast infections, they can often be used to treat other parts of the body, too.

Prescription Treatments

Your healthcare provider may recommend either localized treatment, like the creams and ointments available over the counter, or oral antifungal medications. Most mild to moderate yeast infections can be treated with a one-time dose of Diflucan (fluconazole).

For severe infections or ones that keep coming back, you will likely need a longer treatment course. Your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Ointments, creams, or suppositories used daily for up to two weeks and then once weekly for a few months
  • Multiple doses of an oral antifungal medication, like Diflucan

Alternative Treatments

Natural and alternative treatments for managing infections can be popular, but not all have been proven effective in treating yeast infections. Some research supports that symptoms can improve with:

  • 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: This 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.

Before starting any alternative treatments, talk with your healthcare provider. Some methods have unknown effects, could interact with other medications, or are just ineffective.

Prevention

You can reduce your risk for yeast infections around the anus (and anywhere else) by:

  • Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting, breathable clothing
  • Washing thoroughly and changing into dry clothing after workouts or swimming
  • Avoiding scented products to clean at-risk areas
  • Using physical protection (condoms or dental dams) during sexual intercourse
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Taking a daily probiotic supplement or eating foods with probiotics to promote a healthy flora
  • Avoiding foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar

Summary

People can develop yeast infections anywhere, including the mouth, throat, vagina, penis, and anus. When a high concentration of the fungus Candida settles in the latter region, it can trigger intense itching, burning, and redness. Normal levels of Candida do not trigger such symptoms, so the area must be unusually moist. Several over-the-counter and prescription treatments are effective at clearing up an anal yeast infection. After you've had one, you'll do everything you can to prevent a reoccurrence; following some prevention tips ought to help.

A Word From Verywell

Your healthcare provider can assess if a yeast infection is the cause of your symptoms and guide you to the best treatment option. You can be your own best health advocate by finishing all of your medication even if your symptoms disappear sooner than you expect. It's the one sure way to get rid of an infection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a yeast infection affect the anus?

    Yes, an anal yeast infection occurs when a fungus known as Candida grows around the anus. An overgrowth of yeast can be caused by antibiotic use, high blood sugar, hormonal changes, poor hygiene, or a weakened immune system. 

  • What are the symptoms of an anal yeast infection?

    The main symptom of an anal yeast infection is perianal itching. It can be accompanied by soreness, burning sensation, red or inflamed skin, discharge, or bleeding. 

  • How do you treat an anal yeast infection?

    If this is the first time you have had a yeast infection in your anus, call your healthcare provider to find out the best course of treatment. They may recommend using an over-the-counter yeast infection remedy, such as Diflucan (fluconazole), Lotrimin (clotrimazole), or Monistat (miconazole). 

    These treatments are marketed for treating vaginal yeast infections and come as ointments, creams, or suppositories. Your healthcare provider will advise you on the best form to get and how to apply it. 

    If these treatments do not work, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication that treats yeast such as Diflucan (fluconazole) or Brexafemme (ibrexafungerp).

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.
  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Yeast infection.

  2. MedlinePlus. Yeast infection.

  3. Ansari P. Pruritus aniClin Colon Rectal Surg. 2016;29(01):038-042. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1570391.

  4. Baylor Medicine. Recurrent yeast infections.

  5. Mertas A, Garbusińska A, Szliszka E, Jureczko A, Kowalska M, Król W. The influence of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on fluconazole activity against fluconazole-resistant candida albicans strains. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015. doi:10.1155/2015/590470.

  6. Tara F, Zand-Kargar Z, Rajabi O, et al. The effects of ozonated olive oil and clotrimazole cream for treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. Altern Ther Health Med. 2016;22(4):44-49.

  7. Bahadoran P, Rokni FK, Fahami F. Investigating the therapeutic effect of vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme compared to clotrimazole cream for the treatment of mycotic vaginitis. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010;15(Suppl1):343-349.

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.