Itching in the testicles is a desperate sensation that can hide various causes. Find out which are the most frequent.
Last update: 09 September, 2022
The main causes of itchy testicles will be explained below. Many times, the patient feels embarrassed to seek medical help, delaying a possible solution.
The clinical term that describes the sensation of itching in a certain part of the body is localized itching. The genitals are one of those regions where the symptom causes great discomfort and concern.
1. Problems with intimate hygiene and lifestyle
Either by default or by excess, One of the main reasons why itchy testicles appears is body hygiene. The presence of sweat and secretions in the genital area triggers maceration processes that allow the growth of microorganisms. Thus, a bad smell and irritation appear.
In the same way, vigorous and repetitive intimate hygiene causes dryness and itching. So the best option is to have proper hygiene in a timely manner.
Underwear and itchy testicles
On the other hand, because it is usually covered, the genital area is an area prone to humidity and heat. If in addition to this vulnerability, synthetic fibers and tight underwear are chosen, the situation is aggravated.
This type of material does not allow perspiration, accumulating sweat, since it cannot be eliminated through evaporation. Also, the local temperature with these tissues increases. For this reason, the recommendation is choose loose fitting underwear made from natural fibres, like cotton.
Intimate shaving can cause scrotal itching
Another common trigger for itchy testicles is genital shaving. Shavers generate micro-injuries that trigger inflammatory processes on the irritated area, especially if the razors are worn or if they are applied dry or without prior hygiene.
The consequent release of certain pro-inflammatory substances is responsible for causing redness and itching in the shaved area. Similarly, the inflammatory process also acts on the hair follicles, generating folliculitis.
This affectation can be superinfected with bacteria from the normal flora of the skin., aggravating the situation. Therefore, it is recommended to cut unwanted hair instead of shaving it. In case of doing so, it is important to use razors in good condition and wash the area well before performing the procedure.
2. Can parasites cause itchy testicles?
with the term ectoparasitosis the infestation of the skin and its annexes by various organisms is known. In humans, the two most common are pediculosis and scabies.
In this section we will focus only on lice that affect the genital region, since they can also occur in other locations. Pediculosis and scabies are contagious entitieswhich are frequently associated with precarious hygienic conditions.
Pubic lice or lice are small insects that invade the genital region in humans, although they can sometimes be found in other areas with thick hair. The infestation is caused by pthirus pubis and intimate contact is the real form of contagion, so sexually transmitted infections (STIs) must be ruled out in the presence of the arthropod.
The insect bite is what triggers the itching, leaving small spots on the skin.
In scabies, a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei penetrates the skin to invade it, creating tiny tunnels in its wake. These can be seen on the skin surface as small, thin curved elevations, known as mite furrows. The lesions are very pruritic and it is common for the patient to report that the itching worsens at night.
Although they often cover various parts of the body, sometimes scabies can present as nodules located in the genital region. The mite is easily spread, both by direct physical contact and by surfaces where it is found, being capable of unleashing epidemics in vulnerable communities.
Therefore, in addition to treatment, hygienic measures must be reinforced.
3. Dermatitis as a cause of itchy testicles
A skin condition that is also linked to itching is dermatitis or eczema. In this type of inflammatory skin entities, lesions appear that tend to become chronic and trigger great itching.
Atopic dermatitis usually appears in childhood as a consequence of an alteration in the barrier function of the skin. The affected areas depend on the age of the child, involvement of the genital area being unusual.
However, in the presence of thickened, scaling, and pruritic plaques on the scrotum and base of the penis in an atopic patient, this entity should be suspected. Especially when other conditions are ruled out, such as fungi and allergic processes.
In addition, systemic disorders should also be inquired about. Follow-up of these cases should be prolonged.always at the hands of a specialist.
For its part, contact dermatitis can cause itching in the testicles in the face of an irritating agent. Among the most frequent we have deodorants, perfumes, spermicides and condoms.
Previous sensitization with the trigger will produce an immediate reaction or after a few hours, but in a first contact there may be no lesions or they may appear after a few days. Elimination of the agent is sufficient to prevent future episodes.
Yeast infections can also cause itchy testicles. Candidal intertrigo appears as red, circular patches that cause itching and burning in the genitals.
The causal agent is an opportunistic fungus that is part of the normal flora, called Candida albicans. Similarly, seborrheic dermatitis is related to infection by yeasts of the genus Malassezia. In this condition, yellowish-looking plaques are seen on the scrotum and penis.
On the other hand, ringworm cruises It is a clinical entity in which very pruritic plaques appear in the inguinal folds, the perianal region and the perineum. Lesions have raised, erythematous borders, while the center of them can be lighter. The hot and humid environment favors the development of mycoses, so obesity and profuse sweating are predisposing factors.
5. Itchy testicles due to STIs
Some sexually transmitted infections cause itching, although this is not usually an isolated manifestation. In herpes, itching precedes the appearance of the typical vesicles, which, when broken, acquire a yellowish crusty appearance.
The location of these lesions in men include the glans and foreskin. Less often, they are located on the scrotum and thighs.
In the case of human papillomavirus (HPV), the infection is usually asymptomatic. Depending on their location, the lesions may be accompanied by mild itching.
For its part, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has diverse cutaneous manifestations, which generally go unnoticed as they are nonspecific. Among them, pruritus is described.
Maintaining safe sexual relations is the only effective measure to reduce the risk of contagion of STIs.
6. Itchy testicles as a manifestation of other diseases
Pruritus may be the manifestation of other health problems that require specialized review, especially if the symptom persists over time. It is important to carry out the corresponding complementary tests to rule out any pathology.
Among the main diseases that can cause itching in the testicles are the following:
Extramammary Paget’s disease.
7. Red scrotum syndrome
Finally, there is a condition in which redness, itching and burning appear in the scrotum, secondary to the use of topical corticosteroids in the genital area. In general, the patient reports great anxiety due to the manifestations, for fear of an infectious or malignant origin. Other processes must be ruled out, the steroid eliminated and a close surveillance of the case maintained.
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Catherine A. Johnson