Itchy testicles: Its causes, treatment and prevention

PHOTO: Pixabay

An itch down there at an inopportune time can be the most frustrating experience.

The itch may surprise you anytime, anywhere – whether it is a board meeting, a party or travel in public transport.

It is embarrassing, troublesome and occasionally, worrisome.

Itchy testicles can arise from harmless causes to some serious ones. You may need advice from your medical practitioner if you see any disturbing symptoms.

Let us look at some causes and remedies.

Common causes of itchy testicles

People with this irritating issue mostly want to know why they have itchy balls. The online health management platforms are replete with questions about causes of itchy testicles and the remedies.

In most cases, a general itch may be due to minor issues and will resolve with some changes. Some causes will require clinical intervention.

Here’s a list of causes we have compiled.

  1. Contact dermatitis or allergies: Any new washing detergent that you have used on your briefs may be irritating for your skin. Or it may be a new soap that your skin doesn’t take to. It may even be the cloth material of your inners. Check for any of these to know if you are allergic to them.
  2. Tight tights: If you are wearing tight-fitting inner clothing, your body may not like it. The skin, even in those areas, needs to breathe. Tight innerwear also keeps sweat and dead cells sticking to the skin – another irritant.
  3. Chafing or rubbing: This happens to be the most common reason for itchy testicles. This includes both rubbings against cloth lining, stitches and against thighs. This is a very usual occurrence in hot humid weather and too much movement in uncomfortable clothing.
  4. Candidiasis: A very common fungal infection in both the sexes, the fungi Candida lives on the human body. When it thrives too well, it gives you an itch along with dry flaky patches on the balls, odd smell and pain during urination.
  5. Jock itch infection: Dermatophyte, another fungus, is the cause of this disease called Tinea cruris. There may be rash along with white shiny patches in the folds of the skin.
  6. Psoriasis: This chronic skin infection looks different on the groin. The moist area makes them look like red patches of thickened skin.
  7. Pubic lice or crabs: Pthirus pubis is a parasite similar to hair/body lice. They feed on your blood and crawl about your genital area giving you the urge to scratch. They can be spread through contact with the infected area.
  8. Scabies: A skin infection caused by the microscopic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, it gets transmitted through direct skin contact. It gives one a rash with a severe bout of itching at night.
  9. Genital herpes: This is the same herpes virus that gives you cold sores. It gives you itchy blisters, open sores and pain during peeing. It may spread due to contact but will stay dormant in your body forever.
  10. Genital warts: Caused by Human Papillomavirus, it is an STI that gives you cauliflower-shaped tiny flesh growth. These may or may not be itchy. They form exactly on the scrotum and may swell or bleed during sex.
  11. Gonorrhoea: This is an STI or STD caused by a bacterial infection. Unprotected sex is the main reason. Along with itching and swelling, you may have pain in one testicle, painful urination and discharge from the penis.
  12. Chlamydia: This is another bacterial infection caused by unprotected intimacy. It has similar symptoms as Gonorrhoea. Along with those, you may have pain and bleeding/discharge from rectum and anus too.
  13. Trichomoniasis or Trich: Trichomonas vaginalis is the bacteria that causes this STI mostly in women. Unprotected sexual contact can transfer the infection to men. It gives an itchy feeling inside the penis along with discharge and burning sensation during ejaculation and urination.
  14. Eczema in the groin: This skin condition has inflammation, swelling, itching and redness as symptoms. There is no cure for this, but treatments can control flare-ups.
  15. Extramammary Paget’s disease: it is a kind of skin cancer. If eczema on the scrotal skin does not respond to treatments, then this skin cancer will be the suspect.

Treatments for itchy testicles

PHOTO: Pixabay

If a change in hygiene practice and lifestyle does not relieve you from itchy balls, it is time to visit your doctor.

There is no fixed duration of suffering from the issue. It all depends on what is the cause behind your itch and how rapidly you take action.

The sooner you decide to do something about your itch, the sooner will you get over with the solution.

  • Try moisturisers and lubricants as a remedy for chafing and general dryness.
  • Identifying and avoiding allergens is the first step. Anti-allergic medication and creams can be taken too.
  • Antifungal and antibiotic creams and lotions can treat mild infections of fungus and bacteria.
  • Specific shampoos and lotions are adept at treating pubic lice.
  • Oral medication for viral, fungal and bacterial infection will be advised by the doctor.
  • Your doctor will prescribe you the right medication and treatments for STIs.
  • Liquid nitrogen may be used to freeze warts.

Prevention for itchiness

The first step for any problem is to know the preventive measures. Following are some suggestions to avoid getting an itchy groin.

  1. Stop scratching immediately. Scratching the itch can lead to other complications that you may not have envisaged.
  2. Look after your daily hygiene. Washing your private area daily is a taken. But don’t forget to dry it completely to avoid any fungal growth.
  3. Change your underwear daily or as often as you deem necessary. Unwashed innerwear helps breed fungus on dead skin cells.
  4. Avoid medicated or fragrant soaps. Your itch may be a reaction to those.
  5. Wear only skin-friendly material for your innerwear.
  6. Don’t share towels and personal hygiene things with anyone.
  7. Wear slippers in the communal bathroom to avoid wet floor fungus.
  8. Consider antihistamine and hydrocortisone creams if needed.
  9. Use colloidal oatmeal for a cool bath in place of soap.
  10. Sometimes, antidepressants may be prescribed to control unexplained itching.
  11. If you are sexually active, get tested and inform your partner about it. Use condoms and oral dams while practising intimacy.

Itchy testicles can be an uncomfortable and awkward problem.

In most cases, it is curable through the right treatment and hygiene. Pay heed and avoid unnecessary trouble.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.