What Causes Testicular Itch?
Itchy balls or itchy testicles is an uncomfortable condition that is characterized by an uncontrolled desire to scratch the balls. In most cases, itching only makes the scratching worse. There are several health issues that may present with testicular itch; some of which may warrant an urgent or emergent treatment.
Common Causes Of Testicular Itch
Listed below are the most common causes of itchy balls:
- Tinea cruris: Also known as jock itch is the most frequently reported cause of itchy balls and is caused by fungal growth. Tinea cruris grows on damp, moist places such as skin folds. Genital region and feet are most common sites of involvement. The infection presents with reddish rash along with other peculiar symptoms such as discharge, crusty skin, itchiness and other symptoms that depends on the type of fungal involvement.
- Genital Herpes: Herpes is a viral infection that is transmitted via sexual contact with an infected person. The itchy rash appears as bumps or papules that transforms into blisters and burns upon scratching.
- Intertrigo: This condition is caused by an inflammatory response to fungal or bacterial agent. The inflammatory response is characterized by raw itchy lesions that appears near scrotal region and surrounding skin that offers damp environment for the growth of bacterial and fungal agents.
- Genital warts: Genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted viral infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) that presents with small popular rash or lesions in the groin region. Although, the lesions disappear with treatment (antiviral treatment), the itchy bumps may recur as the infection is incurable.
- Chafing: Constant rubbing and friction in the region of scrotum caused by long distance running and other sports related activities can also cause testicular itch; mostly due to irritation caused by sweat and friction of skin. In poorly managed cases, the rubbing or chafing also creates small inflammatory pockets along the area ofinvolvement; leading to even more itching and irritation.
- Public Lice: Also known as crabs, is often a result of poor genital hygiene and is characterized by parasitic infestation. People experience severe itching that is caused by the bite of lice. In most cases, people can see the lice along with lice eggs on the pubic hair.
- Contact dermatitis: This refers to an abnormal allergic response of skin to environmental and physical agents that comes in contact with skin such as a new detergent, certain fabrics, or hygiene products like body wash/ lotion. The rash is often characterized by red lesions that may ooze a whitish yellow fluid. In severe cases, itching can cause significant discomfort along the more sensitive scrotal region.
How To Manage Testicular Itch?
If you are suffering from testicular itch, it is highly recommended to seek help from a registered professional. Depending upon the cause of itchy testicles, several therapeutic and preventive options can be sought. For instance:
- Maintain optimal genital and physical hygiene
- Maintain caution and use protection while engaging in chance sexual encounters
- Seek appropriate medical help for optimal management of sexually transmitted infections; such as antifungals, antibacterial or antiviral drugs, depending upon the inciting cause
- If you are experiencing itchiness due to dryness of flakiness of skin, use lubricants
- Avoid irritants (both chemical and physical)
- El-Gohary, M., Van Zuuren, E. J., Fedorowicz, Z., Burgess, H., Doney, L., Stuart, B., … & Little, P. (2014). Topical antifungal treatments for tinea cruris and tinea corporis. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev, 8.
- Korostil, I. A., Ali, H., Guy, R. J., Donovan, B., Law, M. G., & Regan, D. G. (2013). Near elimination of genital warts in Australia predicted with extension of human papillomavirus vaccination to males. Sexually transmitted diseases, 40(11), 833-835.