What causes testicle itch? Seven possible causes

What causes testicle itch? Seven possible causes

Jenna Fletcher
by Michael Charles, MD
Itchy testicles, also known as
itchy balls, can be uncomfortable and very tempting to scratch.
In most cases, scratching can
make the itch worse.
There are a number of
potential causes of itchy testicles. Hence, it is important to know what is
causing the itch in order to treat the underlying reason for it in the best

Seven causes of itchy balls

Though many causes of itchy
balls are benign and easy to treat, there are some more serious conditions that
may be responsible.
Seven of the most common
causes include:

1. Jock itch

Jock itch, also known as tinea
cruris, is one of the most common causes of itchy balls.
Jock itch is a fungal
infection that occurs in damp areas of the body, often near or in folds of
skin. Jock itch can appear on the feet or genitals.
Jock itch often presents as a
reddish rash. However, the exact appearance depends on the type of fungus that
is causing the infection.
Yeast is a common type of
fungal infection that causes red, itchy rashes. When a person has a yeast
infection on their genitals, they may experience an intensely itchy rash, moist
skin, and white-colored discharge near the folds and edge. Other yeast
infections may appear dry and flaky.

2. Intertrigo

Intertrigo is an inflammatory
response to either a bacterial or fungal infection. The resulting rash is often
red, raw, and stings.
The inflammation most commonly
occurs near folds in the skin and moist areas of the body. The scrotum contains
many folds and is a moist environment, which makes it an ideal area for
bacteria or fungus to grow.

3. Chafing

Chafing occurs when constant,
prolonged rubbing occurs on an area of skin. This friction can occur during
physical activities, such as running or biking.
On these occasions, the
friction between the legs leaves tiny cracks and inflammation. The resulting
rash is often itchy and uncomfortable for the individual.

4. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an
allergic reaction. It is most likely to occur when the skin comes into contact
with a new substance, including new body or hair wash, new washing detergent,
or a new fabric.
Contact dermatitis results in
a red, itchy rash that may ooze a white or yellow liquid. The same rash will
likely occur in other areas of the body, as well as on the testicles. The
thinner skin of the ball sack makes it feel particularly itchy and

5. Crabs or pubic lice

Crabs or pubic lice may also
cause itchy balls. Pubic lice cause tiny bites that itch and are uncomfortable.
Some people notice lice eggs
growing near the roots of their pubic hairs. Others might see the grayish lice,
crawling around on their ball sack or around their pubic hair.
Crabs may be spread during
sexual activity with an infected partner.

6. Genital warts

Genital warts is another
sexually transmitted infection (STI) that causes an itchy reaction on the balls
and other areas of the genitalia.
Genital warts are associated
with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and although they can be removed, they may
reappear in the future, as the virus is not curable.
Genital warts can be itchy, but
generally, they just resemble small, raised bumps.

7. Herpes

Herpes is an STI that causes
an itchy rash to appear on the skin. After about a day, the rash turns into one
or more blisters that burn.
These herpes blisters may
eventually burst, leading to painful sores.

Preventing itchy balls
requires different precautionary measures depending on the exact cause.
For bacterial or fungal
infections, a person should keep the balls and genital area clean and dry. A
person should consider wearing looser clothing on hot days or during exercise
to help the area remain as dry as possible.
In cases of allergic
reactions, a person should keep a record of known allergens. When something
causes the balls or another area of the body to itch, that substance should be
If chafing is the cause, a
person can use moisturizers or lubricants to help prevent this rubbing
irritation. Moisturizers may also stop itching.
Some STIs can be prevented by
a person using proper protection during sexual activity. It is also a good idea
to know the sexual history of a partner and find out if they have an STI that
can be spread during intercourse.

When to see a doctor

Itchy testicles may not seem
very concerning at first. In some cases, a person may know right away what the
cause is, and they may not need to seek medical attention.
When a rash appears or when
itching is persistent and intense, a person should have a doctor rule out
certain causes and determine the right treatment. Also, a doctor should examine
any rash that changes or starts to ooze.
Anyone who suspects they have
pubic lice should visit their doctor to appropriate treatment to kill the lice
and their eggs.


Similarly to prevention,
treatment of itchy balls depends largely on the cause of the irritation. Some
common treatments include the following:

  • antifungal creams
  • medicated lotions and shampoos
  • moisturizers and lubricants
  • medication for STIs
  • avoiding allergens
Antifungal or antibiotic
creams that treat jock itch and other bacterial or fungal infections are
available for purchase online. A doctor may also give someone a prescription
cream to help treat the infection.
Special lotions and shampoo
are prescribed to treat pubic lice. These medicated products contain
ingredients that kill the lice and their eggs.
Moisturizers and lubricants
are used to treat itching and rashes caused from chafing. The products help
both to prevent and treat a rash and are available for purchase online.
Medication may be prescribed
to help reduce outbreaks of an STI. In the case of genital warts, a doctor may
burn them off with liquid nitrogen.
Avoiding allergens that
prompted the rash is the first response to itchy balls caused in this way. The
allergic reaction should clear up in about a week. Otherwise, a doctor may
prescribe a cream to help recovery.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.