Wooden hand around long cactus. Itchy balls article
Wooden hand around long cactus. Itchy balls article

Got Itchy Balls? Here’s What It Could Mean & What To Do About It

Itchy or broken skin on your balls? Here’s what it could be.

Itches are bitches, and itchy balls are no different.

Nothing feels quite as good as scratching an itch, but itchy skin can potentially signal a cause for concern.

Itchy skin is something most of us experience every day. Scratchy clothes on our skin, a stray hair falling down the back of our shirts, even a healing tattoo will have you wanting to itch for hours.

But sometimes, an itch can indicate a health condition, allergies, or poor hygiene. Especially if your balls are itchy.

Testicles are prone to many causes of itches, most are benign and simple to treat, but sometimes it may be something serious.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed of though. Itchy balls are common. Whether down to sweat, a cheap pair of pants, or an STD, you shouldn’t be embarrassed and seek the relevant help you need to sort out your issue. Discussing your symptoms with a doctor may be required, but there may be some easy fixes you can do yourself.

Apples and banana staged like male genitals. Itchy balls article

Why are my balls itchy?

If you find yourself scratching at your balls a bit too often, or notice you’re doing so more than normally, it may indicate something that needs to be addressed.

If you’re experiencing itchy testicles, here are some possible causes:

  • Irritation or chafing — You may experience itchiness if your balls are chafing or irritated. This can be caused by tight underwear and clothes, but also by exercising for long periods. Itchy balls may be caused by broken skin from consistent chafing. Signs of irritation include:
    1. Redness or rash on the skin
    2. A raw feeling when skin is touched
    3. Cuts or openings in the skin
  • Fungal Infection — Fungal infections can also cause itchy skin. These infections can develop around your genitals from poor hygiene or unprotected sex. Symptoms can include:
    1. Burning sensations around the penis and scrotum
    2. Swelling of the skin around the penis and scrotum
    3. Pain when urinating
    4. Reddish skin
    5. Dry, flaky skin
    6. Unusual odour
  • Herpes Genital herpes is a viral infection that is spread during physical contact with infected skin or during sex. An outbreak of this virus can lead to itchiness of the penis and testicles but some other symptoms include:
    1. Pain when urinating
    2. Burning around testicles and penis
    3. Blisters around the genital area can pop, becoming open sores
    4. Feeling sick, rundown and exhausted
  • Gonorrhoea Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection/disease that is caused by bacteria. Not only infecting your genitals, it can infect your mouth, throat, and rectum. It is mostly transmitted by unprotected sex. The infection can make your balls itchy and swollen, but other symptoms include:
    1. Pain in the testicles, especially only in one testicle at a time
    2. Pain or burning sensation when urinating
    3. Discharge leaking from the penis (can be green, yellow, or white)
  • Genital warts – Caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus), genital warts may go unnoticed as they can be so small that you miss them. They’re often small, discoloured, and sometimes itchy. They may be cauliflower-shaped and appear in large groups with other warts. The area where the warts are may get swollen, or they could bleed during sex. They can appear on the scrotum but also on areas like the inner thighs. 
  • Chlamydia — Chlamydia is another STI that may be behind your itchy balls. It is spread by a bacterial infection and can happen even if you don’t ejaculate during sex. It can also be spread orally and anally, as well as genitally. The STI can cause your balls to become swollen, itchy and sometimes painful, but typically only happens to one testicle. Other symptoms may include:
    1. Pain, bleeding, or discharge from the rectum or anus
    2. Pain or burning when urinating
    3. Discoloured discharge from the penis (white, yellow, or green)
  • Pubic lice — Also known as ‘crabs’. Pubic lice are a type of lice that live in your pubic hair or areas with coarse hair that’s similar to pubes. Males and females can both experience crabs. The lice feed on your blood but they can’t fly or jump, so can only be spread by touching someone or coming in contact with someone who has them, but this usually happens if you’re touching the area that is affected with lice. The lice can’t spread disease or infection but they can crawl around causing your balls to become itchy.

Accredited sex educator, psychosexual and relationship therapist-in-training, Evie Plumb, is the founder of sex positive platform, Cliterally The Best. Her advice on dealing with itchy balls is to:

‘Make sure you are cleaning (and drying) your penis and testicles well with gentle soap and water, and under all the flaps and groin areas’

Evie also mentions to make sure you’re ‘letting them air and not sleeping in your underwear’. If you need more convincing, you can check out her blog post on the benefits of being naked.

Itchy balls after shaving

Razor and lotion. Itchy balls article

Shaving is a personal choice, but if you choose to shave, you need to do it properly to ensure minimal irritation to sensitive areas, including your balls.

Itchiness is not uncommon after shaving but poor habits can lead to itchiness and it might do some damage to your skin in the long term.

There are a few reasons you might have itchy balls after shaving:

  • Using a dull razor
  • Using strong-smelling products with harsh chemicals
  • You’re dry shaving

Dull razors or not shaving correctly can lead to irritation and itching as there’s more trauma to the skin without any shaving cream or lubricants. But equally, if you’re using products that are fragranced with harsh, artificial chemicals, they might cause you itchiness and irritation after shaving, too.

You also may be itchy due to chafing. Chafing is when fabric rubs against the skin, or skin rubbing on skin (like inner thighs). As the groin can be a hot and humid place, you may be more susceptible to chafing. To try and avoid this, wear loose underwear and bottoms to prevent material rubbing on your balls or any sensitive areas — including shaved bits. You can also use creams to help soothe any chafed areas.

Shaving is a delicate practice. So, make sure you take your time when shaving your balls (or any part of your body TBH); there’s nothing worse than a small cut on such a sensitive area. And always shave in the direction of growth, pulling on your scrotum to create a smooth and taut area to shave.

Sex educator and founder of Cliterally the Best, Evie Plumb, explains how to shave properly to avoid ingrown hairs and itchiness.

Make sure you are doing the following:

  1. Shaving in the direction of the skin
  2. Wet your skin with warm water and use shaving gel
  3. Rinse the razor after every stroke
  4. Don’t be too rough or fast, and try not to go over the same spot more than once
  5. Use an exfoliating scrub to help release any trapped hairs

Doing the above should decrease your chances of snagging a bit of skin or irritating any sensitive areas. And make sure you change your razors regularly to reduce infections and irritation, too.

For a shaver that does the job well, consider Braun’s Body Groomer – with three different attachments. It’s designed for closeness but protects even the most sensitive areas of the body.

For more amazing deals and savings, check out Student Bean’s Braun student discount.

How to stop itchy balls

Sometimes an itch is just an itch, scratch it (gently) and it will pass. But other times, an itch indicates something that needs to be treated.

Here are some ways you can treat your itchy balls depending on the cause.

Fungal infections

Some fungal infections can go away on their own. However, you may need to visit your GP to pick up antifungal creams and ointments.

Irritation and chafing

If your itchy balls are caused by irritated skin and chafing, use powder or lotion. Powder can help prevent skin rubbing against skin, and lotion can help soothe the irritated skin. If you feel like it’s necessary for extra comfort, you can cover the area with a bandage or gauze to make the area less itchy and to give it some more protection.

STDs and STIs

If your itchy balls are caused by a sexually transmitted disease or infection, it’s best to visit your GP or healthcare professional for treatment. 

Genital warts and genital herpes will likely need medication to be treated. Herpes may require antiviral medication, whereas genital warts can be treated with medicated ointments. In some cases though, you may need a doctor to remove the warts by freezing or performing surgery.

If you have chlamydia, this will need to be treated with medication and you’ll have to wait at least a week after treatment to have sex again.

Pubic lice

If your itchiness is because of pubic lice, you can either go to the doctor to get prescribed medications, or you can use over-the-counter treatments from your local pharmacy — they’ll be able to help and advise on what you might need.

You can buy kits for lice removal at drugstores and you can apply the medication yourself.

Other tips for itchy balls

Ensure you’re bathing or showering regularly as itchy balls can be caused by poor hygiene and heavy sweating. This may lead to irritation and fungal infections.

Bed sheet hygiene is also important. If your sheets aren’t clean, they could be causing your balls to itch.

To prevent STIs, wear condoms, get tested regularly and ensure you’re open with any sexual partners about both of your STI statuses. Communication is key.

If you’re looking to save some cash and revamp your health and fitness, shop with our Student Beans health and fitness student discounts.