Itchy balls, either on or around your testicles or your scrotum (sack of skin that holds your testicles in place), is a normal occurrence for most men. Your balls can itch due to sweat or not taking a bath for a few days.
READ ALSO: Six Possible Causes of Smelly Penis
Apart from personal hygiene, other physical and medical conditions can cause itchy balls.
What causes itchy balls?
The following are possible causes of itchy balls.
Pubic lice, also called crabs can be described as lice that live in the pubic hair around your genital area. Just like head lice, pubic lice feeds on your blood. Crabs cannot jump or fly, they are only contracted during genital contact with an infected person. This can also happen by touching someone in an area where they have a lice infestation.
Though pubic lice can’t spread disease or infection when they feed on your blood, but they can make your balls and genital area to itch extremely. Apart from the severe itching, other symptoms of pubic lice infestation is a powder-like substance in your underwear or small red or blue spots from their bites.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), caused by bacteria. It is usually transferred through unprotected sex. It can infect your genital, mouth, throat, and rectum.
Gonorrhea can lead to swollen and itchy balls. Other common symptoms of gonorrhea include:
- painful or burning sensation while urinating
- Penile discharge that appears to be green, yellow, or white
- testicular pain, especially only in one testicle at a time
MaFungi usually live in giant colonies that are also scarcely visible, even when they’re living on your body. Fungal infections can easily develop around your genital area and testicles if you engage in unprotected sex or poor hygiene.
Candidiasis is one of the most common fungal infections of the genitals. Candida fungi live in or on your body in your intestines and skin. They can cause an infection if they grow uncontrollably. This can lead to itchy balls.
Dermatophyte is another fungus that can also result in a similar infection called jock itch.
Other symptoms can include:
- burning sensation around your scrotum and penis
- swelling of the scrotum or penis skin
- painful urination
- abnormal odor
- reddish skin around the scrotum or penis
- dry, flaky skin
Genital herpes is a viral infection that can be spread during unprotected sex or physical contact with infected skin. Herpes infection can cause your balls to get extremely itchy. Other symptoms of genital herpes include:
- feeling exhausted
- burning or itchy sensation around your testicles and penis
- blisters around your genital area that can pop and become open sores
- painful urination
Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Genital warts can be very small, so you may not notice it an infection. Genital warts usually appear like small, discolored bumps that may or may not be itchy.
They’re often cauliflower-shaped and appear in large groups together with other warts. They may appear right on your scrotum or as far away as your inner thighs.
Chlamydia is an STI spread by a bacterial infection. This infection can be passed on through genital, oral, and anal sex. It can be spread even if you don’t ejaculate during sex. Chlamydia can cause itchy and swollen balls. For men, one of the most discrete signs that you may have an infection is that chlamydia usually makes only one testicle feel painful and swollen. Other symptoms include:
- painful urination
- discolored discharge from the penis which may appear green, yellow, or white
- pain, bleeding, or discharge from the rectum or anus
Trichomoniasis (often called trich) is a bacterial STI caused by the Trichomonas vaginalisbacteria.
Trich more commonly infects women, but it can be transmitted to men if condoms or oral dams aren’t used during sex.
Many people who get trich infections never have any symptoms, but trich can cause irritation or inflammation that can make your genital area feel uncomfortable and make it more painful to have sex.
Trich can make your balls feel itchy and cause other symptoms, such as:
- itchy feeling inside your penis
- discolored (green, yellow, or white) discharge from the penis
- pain or burning while urinating or when ejaculating during sex
Chafing or irritation
Dry skin around your genital area is common if you walk around in dry heat. Exercising for long periods of time can also cause your skin to get irritated or chafed. In some cases, the skin can be rubbed away enough to cause bleeding.
Some common signs of chafing and irritation include:
- skin feeling raw to the touch
- redness or rash on the skin
- surface-level cuts or openings in your skin
Scabies is a skin infection that is caused by a mite. The microscopic scabies mite, or Sarcoptes scabiei, is transmitted when you have direct skin contact with an infected person.
It may take several weeks for symptoms to appear after infection. Common symptoms include itching and a rash. People with scabies also experience intense itching symptoms at night.
Treating Itchy Balls
Treatment for your itchy balls depends on what’s causing the itch.
To treat chafing and irritation
Chafing and irritation can be treated using lotion or powder that prevents your skin from rubbing against another surface of skin. Using bandages or gauze to cover up a chafed, irritated area can also help make your balls less itchy.
To Treat Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can go away on their own, but you may need to be treated by antifungals or antifungal creams and ointments. See your doctor for antifungal medication if you believe a fungal infection is causing your balls to itch.
Treating genital herpes
You may need to take antiviral medication, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex) or acyclovir (Zovirax), for a genital herpes outbreak. Treatment lasts for about a week. However, those with recurrent outbreaks may require long-term medication.
Gonorrhea infections can be treated and cured with prescription medication. Talk to your doctor about getting treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. Long-term complications of gonorrhea, such as infertility, can’t be cured once the damage has been done.
Treating genital warts
Genital warts can be treated with medicated ointments for your skin, such as imiquimod (Aldara) and podofilox (Condylox). In some cases, your doctor may need to remove warts by freezing them (cryotherapy) or performing surgery to remove them.
Chlamydia can be treated with medication like azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline (Acticlate, Doryx). You’ll have to wait at least a week after treatment to have sex again.
Treating pubic lice
Pubic lice can be treated with medications prescribed by your doctor or by over-the-counter treatments. Thoroughly washing the affected area and applying the medication helps kill many of the lice, but you’ll still need to comb through the hair to remove the rest yourself.
You can buy kits for lice removal at many drugstores.
Trich can be treated with several doses of tinidazole (Tindamax) or metronidazole (Flagyl). After taking the medication, don’t have sex again for at least a week.
Your doctor can prescribe ointments, creams, and lotions that can get rid of scabies and treat the rash and itching. Most topical treatments for scabies are applied at night when the mites are most active. It’s then washed off in the morning.
Sources: Healthline.com, medicalnewstoday.com
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