Itchy testicles, or itchy balls, can happen for various reasons. Possible causes can include chafing, lice, herpes, and jock itch. Treatment options, such as creams and lotions, may help to relieve itching.

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 way. In most cases, scratching can make the itch worse.

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There are many possible reasons why a person may experience itching in the groin area. 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 typically refers to an itchy rash in the groin region. Most cases of jock itch are also known as tinea cruris, which 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. Tinea refers to the name of the fungus that causes the rash, while cruris derives from the Latin word for leg. As such, when this infection occurs on the foot, it is known as tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot. Both names also refer to the infections being prevalent in athletes.

Jock itch typically occurs when tight garments trap moisture and heat. This creates a suitable environment for fungi to multiply and flourish. Jock itch often presents as a reddish rash. However, the exact appearance depends on the type of fungus that is causing the infection.

People with a penis and testicles may also experience a yeast infection. This is a different fungal infection that can also cause itchy rashes in the groin area.

2. Intertrigo

Intertrigo is an inflammatory condition that often occurs due to skin-on-skin friction. Bacterial or fungal infections can further exacerbate the condition and result in a raw and stinging rash.

Intertrigo rashes often occur in the flexures, or folds of the skin that trap moisture and with limited air circulation. The groin is a common location for intertrigo to develop. As the scrotum contains many folds and is a moist environment, it is an ideal area for bacteria or fungus to grow and exacerbate an itchy intertrigo rash.

3. Chafing

Chafing describes skin irritation that occurs when constant, prolonged rubbing occurs on an area of skin. This friction can occur during physical activities, such as running or biking, and can be due to skin, clothing, or other material rubbing against skin.

The thighs and groin are common areas for chafing to occur. Other factors, such as ill-fitting clothes, excess skin, and hot weather can also increase the likelihood of chafing.

Read on to learn more about prevention and home remedies for chafing.

4. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction, which often presents as an itchy rash. When it specifically occurs on the testicles, it is known as scrotal dermatitis.

It is most likely to occur when the skin comes into contact with a new substance, including new body wash, new washing detergent, personal deodorants, or moist toilet wipes.

Contact dermatitis results in an 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 uncomfortable.

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 testicles or around their pubic hair.

People usually transmit pubic lice through sexual contact. However, it is also possible to transmit them through close personal contact or contact with articles of clothing, bed linens, or towels that a person with a pubic lice infection uses.

6. Genital warts

Genital warts are another sexually transmitted infection (STI). They can cause skin-colored bumps to appear on the scrotum, and other areas of the genitals, and may be itchy.

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.

7. Herpes

Genital herpes are another STI that can also cause a person to experience itching around their genitals. Genital herpes can result in an itchy rash to appear on the skin, which may turn into blisters that burn. These herpes blisters may eventually burst, leading to painful sores.

Genital herpes occurs due to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). People can transmit herpes through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone with an herpes infection.

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, a person should attempt to avoid that substance.

If chafing is the cause, a person can use moisturizers or lubricants to help prevent this rubbing irritation. Moisturizers may also stop itching.

A person can prevent some STIs by 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 they can transmit during intercourse.

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

If itching occurs due to an infection, such as jock itch, a person can use antifungal or antibiotic creams. A doctor may also give someone a prescription cream to help treat the infection.

Special lotions and shampoo are available 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.

A doctor may prescribe medications to help treat STIs. In the case of genital warts, a doctor may burn them off with liquid nitrogen.

If a person is experiencing contact dermatitis, then it advisable to avoid the causative allergen. The allergic reaction should clear up in about a week. Otherwise, a doctor may prescribe a cream to help recovery.

Some FAQs about itchy testicles may include:

How can a person prevent their genital area from itching?

As there are many different causes for itchy testicles, a person can incorporate a number of preventative measures. This can include maintaining proper hygiene, being aware of allergens, using moisturizers, and using protective methods, such as condoms, during sexual activities.

Is jock itch a STI?

While jock itch can transmit from skin-to-skin contact, it is not an STI. It is a fungal infection that can occur due to excessive moisture gathering in the groin area.

How do I stop my pubic area from itching?

Treatments to stop itching will vary depending on the underlying cause. Often, options will include antifungal creams, medications lotions, moisturizers, STI medications, and avoiding allergens.