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Itchy Testicles – Is it a sign of STDs?

It is common to experience a need to itch every now and then, but if you feel the need to scratch all the time it’s probably time to seek some help. Inadvertently, there would be a concern of any possible sexually transmitted diseases (STD), but not all itches are sexually transmitted. – STD Screening in Singapore

Listed below are some of the more common causes of itchy testicles.


  1. Chafing

Chafing is an irritation of the skin caused by repetitive friction. This is typically caused by inappropriately sized clothing and is commonly experienced by guys doing biking or running. It can happen anywhere on the skin but vulnerable areas are the groin, thighs, underarms and even the nipples. Chafing is easy to prevent though, by wearing the right clothes and using some form of barrier cream/ointment like vaseline to protect vulnerable areas.

  1. Jock Itch

Jock Itch, also known as tinea cruris, this is a fairly common condition seen in gentlemen who exercise a lot or are involved in jobs involving heavy physical activity. This creates a warm, moist environment on the scrotum that is ideal for fungal growth. Common symptoms are an itchy and red rash on the scrotum that can be scaly in nature. Treatment is through the use of oral or topical antifungal medications. Jock Itch can be prevented by regular change of clothing after heavy exertion as well as use of antiperspirants.

  1. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema triggered by contact with a particular substance. The skin can become red and cracked with blistering and sometimes can resemble jock itch. Common causes of contact dermatitis are new soaps and detergents, so if the new soap/detergent is causing itchy testicles, it might be a good idea to swab back.

  1. Lichen Simplex Chronicus

This is what happens when you leave an itch too long without seeing a doctor. After prolonged itchy, rubbing and scratching of the skin, the scrotum can become lichenified. Like lichen on the trees, the skin can become thick and scaly with accentuated skin fold lines. This is an extremely pruritic chronic itch, and the treatment is usually the use of a strong steroid cream to thin out the lichenified skin. 

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an unpleasant skin condition presenting as reddish rashes with silvery scaling over the whole body. It commonly involves the scrotum and it can be itchy as well. There are also other dermatological conditions which may look similar to psoriasis and can involve the scrotum as well. This is why it is important to see a doctor if there is an odd looking rash over the scrotum that does not go away on its own. 

  1. Pubic Lice

Also known as crabs, Pthirus pubis is a very small insect that parasites humans. Pubic Lice are commonly found attached to the hair in the pubic region but can also be found in other coarse hair elsewhere on the body, for example eyebrows or armpits. Other than the adult insects, eggs known as “nits” can also be found attached to the hair. Pubic lice is normally spread through sexual contact. It is however very easily treatable by over the counter anti-louse preparations. 

  1. Scabies

Sarcoptes scabiei are tiny eight legged mites that live within the human skin. Allergic reaction to the mites, eggs and faeces can lead to an intense itching that is worse at night. Symptoms are a pimple like rash over the scrotum that can be very itchy out of proportion to the rash. Scabies is spread through skin to skin contact and hence can be sexually transmitted. It’s treated with an anti-mite topical preparation known as permethrin. 


The astute reader might realise that not a lot of STDs are found on the above list. The truth is that the majority of STDs do not lead to testicular itching but rather other symptoms like ulcers or discharge. If itchy testicles are still a problem, it is still better to seek a doctor for a medical consultation.

Common Causes of Penile Itching and Pubic Itching

A myriad of conditions can cause a man to have penile itching or pubic itching. The excruciating urge to scratch and relieve that itch at such an inconvenient part of the body can be a major source of embarrassment to some. When severe, it can result in extreme discomfort in the day, and disrupt one’s sleep at night.

 

Here are some of the causes of Penile Itching and Pubic Itching:

 

6 Common Causes of Penile Itch:

 

1. Balanitis

Balanitis is a common infection of the foreskin and head of the penis. It is caused by bacteria or fungus, or a combination of both.

Symptoms include redness, swelling, discomfort, penile itching, and sometimes pain when passing urine.
(See: Penile Infection, Infection of the Penis)

When fungal infection (candidiasis) is present, a whitish cottage cheese-like discharge can be found under the foreskin. Balanitis is often hygiene related, but can also be caused by STDs. It is more likely to occur in uncircumcised males.  Watch: What are the causes of Foreskin Infection (Balanitis)

2. Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Itching of the penis (penile itching) is usually the first symptom and can occur in other areas such as the scrotum, groin, buttocks and anus.

Shortly after, tiny clusters of fluid-filled blisters or ulcers can develop and these are usually painful. Other symptoms include painful urination, enlarged groin lymph nodes, fever and body aches. The virus can lie dormant in the body for years without causing any symptoms, therefore some people may not even be aware that they are infected.

Read: Genital Blister, Genital Ulcers & Genital Warts & Causes of Oral Herpes (Cold Sore)

 

3. Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. They appear as flesh-coloured growths that can cluster and resemble a cauliflower. Most of the time they do not have any symptoms but can sometimes itch. Bleeding can also occur during sexual intercourse.

Read: Genital Warts Treatment

 

4. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction to contact with an irritant. This can happen anywhere on the body, including the penis. When this happens, it is usually caused by latex condom usage. The skin of the penis can turn red and itchy.

Sometimes the skin can break causing serious discharge, and bacterial infection can occur. Mild cases can be treated with a corticosteroid cream. Non-latex condoms can be used if you have a latex allergy.

 

5. Urethritis

One of the causes of penile itching is Urethritis. Urethritis refers to inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. This condition most often causes pain or itching in the penis, which worsens when passing urine.

Other symptoms include urethral discharge, urinary frequency or urgency, difficulty urinating, and blood in the semen. Urethritis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection and can be sexually transmitted. See other STD Symptoms 

 

6. Psoriasis

Psoriasis on elbows.

Genital psoriasis often occurs alongside psoriasis of the skin. Skin cells develop at an extremely fast rate, resulting in the accumulation of skin cells on the skin surface, building up into itchy, red plaques of scaly skin. See Psoriasis Treatment

5 Common Causes of Pubic Itch

 

1. Jock Itch

Also known as tinea cruris, jock itch is a fungal infection of the skin in the genital area, groin and buttocks. The rash is usually itchy, red, scaly and ring-shaped. It tends to occur in people who sweat a lot and/or are overweight.

 

2. Pubic Lice

More commonly known as crabs, these are tiny parasitic insects that attach to the hair and skin in the pubic region. Pubic lice can be easily spread via sexual contact or other forms of close contact, and can spread to other body areas with coarse hair such as beards, armpits and chest hair. It is also possible for pubic lice to spread by using an infected person’s clothes, towels, or bed.

 

3. Folliculitis

This is a condition in which hair follicles become inflamed and is usually caused by bacterial or fungal infection, or inflammation from ingrown hair. Initially, the affected hair follicles may have small red bumps or white-headed pimples, but can swell and become painful and subsequently develop into crusty sores.

 

4. Contact Dermatitis

As mentioned earlier, this condition can also occur in the pubic area.

 

5. Molluscum Contagiosum (mo-LUS-kum kun-tay-jee-OH-sum)

Molluscum Contagiousum is a benign viral infection of the skin and is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, resulting in painless, small, shiny pearl-shaped lesions. They can happen anywhere on the body as a result of contact, but when they occur in the genital area, it is usually as a result of sexual contact. They can appear alone or in clusters. They usually do not cause any symptoms, but can sometimes itch.

If you need to speak to our doctors, please visit our men’s clinics.  Alternatively, you can email us hello@dtapclinic.com or call us for an appointment.
Take Care.


Other Read:

 

6 Common Causes of Penile Discolouration

Most men tend to not pay regular attention to their general skin condition, but when it comes to matters of the penis, it is almost always a cause for immediate concern; after all, it is the source of our manhood. More often than not, any unusual appearance such as discolouration, dry skin, red spots or bumps may result in considerable anxiety.

It is not uncommon for men, especially those with darker skin, to have slight variations in the colour of the penis. In fact, for men of all races, it is normal for the penis to be slightly darker than the skin on the rest of the body. This applies also to the labia of women.

When an adolescent male or female undergoes puberty, the body produces the sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, which results in the development of secondary sexual characteristics. Excess levels of these hormones in the genitals respond to melanocytes, the skin cells that cause pigmentation. These physiological changes are responsible for darker genitalia in both men and women.

Mild penile discolouration is generally nothing to worry about. In fact, during sexual arousal, the penis can take on a reddish, sometimes almost purplish colour, due to increased blood flow to the organ. However, there are other causes of penile discolouration that may be more severe and require treatment.

 

6 Common Causes of Penile Discolouration

 

via GIPHY

1. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction to contact with an irritant. This can happen anywhere on the body, including the penis. When this happens, it is usually caused by latex condom usage. The skin of the penis can turn red and itchy. Sometimes the skin can break causing serous discharge, and bacterial infection can occur. Mild cases can be treated with a corticosteroid cream. Non-latex condoms can be used if you have a latex allergy.

 

2. Penile Injury

A penile injury can lead to rapid discolouration due to bruising, in the form of purple, dark brown or even greenish hues. Sometimes, a red patch with prominent blood vessels just under the surface of the skin can occur due to a hematoma. This usually fades after several days and treatment is typically not necessary.

However, if there is severe pain along with the discolouration after a traumatic episode, immediate medical attention is required as this could be due to a penile fracture, which is a more severe issue.

 

3. Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a lifelong condition that can go through periods of remission and flare-ups, and is characterised by white patches on the penis. It is more common in those who are uncircumcised. In addition to blotchy white spots, the skin of the penis can also become itchy, fragile and tear or bleed easily. Other symptoms include painful sex and an inability to retract the foreskin fully.

The cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown, but an overactive immune system or an imbalance of hormones may play a role. It is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Treatment usually includes a strong steroid ointment applied directly to the affected skin. If only the foreskin is affected, circumcision may be advised.

 

4. Penile Melanosis or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Penile melanosis, or PIH, is a benign condition simply caused by overproduction of melanin, in which the skin can appear in a wide variety of colors including different shades of brown, grey or even blue.

Overproduction usually occurs after an injury to the skin of the penis, the most common being excessive rubbing of the penis from vigorous sex or self-pleasuring. It will fade over time, or if a man is bothered by it, possible treatments such as topical retinol (vitamin A) every night before bed, laser therapy, or microdermabrasion can help to reduce the discolouration.

 

5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Purple sores on the penis can occur as a result of genital herpes or syphilis. These STDs can be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, fever, itchiness, burning, and fatigue. If STD is suspected, it is imperative to head to a clinic to see a physician as soon as possible to be tested and get treated.

Also Read

 

6. Penile Cancer

Penile cancer tends to start on the skin of the penis and spreads towards the deeper tissues. 95% are squamous cell carcinomas, while penile melanoma accounts for 0.7%. Penile cancer is rare and the cause is not entirely known, but risk factors include smoking, HIV and high risk strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Symptoms include changes in the colour and thickness of the skin of the penis, foul smelling discharge under the foreskin, and abnormal non-resolving growths or ulceration of the penis. A diagnosis of penile cancer requires an urgent biopsy.

 

There are other conditions that can cause penile discolouration. It is important to determine the exact cause as treatment varies according to the cause. It is always best to visit a doctor for a physical examination and proper evaluation.

If you need to speak to our doctors , please visit our men’s clinics.  Alternatively, you can email us hello@dtapclinic.com or call us for an appointment.

 

Take Care.

 

Other Read:

Also on DTAP’s blog: std check up singapore