Itchy Scrotum: 7 Common Causes (& What To Do)

Clinical review: Dr. Rodolfo Favaretto
February 2023

An itchy scrotum mostly happens due to sweat or constant friction in the area, and is usually not associated with a serious health problem and

An intensely itchy scrotum with small skin wounds, however, could be a sign of a health condition like a genital infection or skin inflammation.

If the itching sensation does not resolve on its own with adequate hygiene, you should see your doctor. You should especially be assessed before opting to use any creams or at-home treatment. The doctor can identify if there really is a problem and recommend proper interventions.

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The main causes for itchy testicles include: 

1. Excessive sweat

Excessive sweat in the genital area is one of the main causes of an itchy scrotum. It is associated with increased itching at the end of the day or after intense exercise.

Inadequate hygiene can lead to sweat build-up, which can contribute to itchiness. Without good, frequent hygiene, the development of fungal infections are also more probable, as fungi thrives in warm and damp areas.

What to do: Ensure thorough cleansing of your genitals and a shower once a day, especially after heavy physical exercise. Itchiness associated with sweat usually resolves after washing.

2. Constant friction 

Constant friction is also one of the main causes of an itchy scrotum. This problem is more common in cyclists and runners, as they spend many hours doing repeated leg movements, which ends up causing friction in the area.

What to do: Prevent friction by avoiding prolonged repeated leg movements. If this is unavoidable, you can use a groin guard or jock strap and opt for cotton underwear. Adequate hygiene following exercise is also recommended.

3. Pubic hair removal

Men who remove their pubic hair regularly may feel itchy in the testicular area, especially two to three days after removing the hair. When hair start re-growing and pokes through the epidermis, this can cause a slight discomfort, similar to itchiness.

Overall itchiness usually starts to improve after a few sessions of hair removal, but some men can have persisting itchiness with hair removal (depending on their skin sensitivity).

What to do: To promote even pubic hair growth and decrease itchiness, ensure you use a blade and remove hair in the direction of the hair growth. Moisturizing the genital skin after hair removal can also help decrease post-removal itching.

4. Jock itch

Jock itch, otherwise known as a fungal infection in the groin area, is characterized by the presence of the Tinea cruris fungus. This fungus tends to develop in areas that are warm and damp for prolonged periods of time. This infection occurs frequently in men who do not shower following exercise or who wear underwear made of synthetic fabrics (which do not allow the skin to breathe).  

In addition to itching, red blotches or a rash may appear in the genital area. Learn more about the symptoms of jock itch and what can cause it.

What to do: In most cases, adequate genital hygiene will spontaneously resolve the infection and relieve associated symptoms. Cotton-based underwear or other natural fabrics are recommended, as these are more breathable and will prevent the area from getting to warm or moist. In more severe cases of jock itch that do not resolve on their own, you may need to see your doctor. He or she may prescribe a topical antifungal like clotrimazole.

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5. Allergic reaction

Just like skin on any part of the body, scrotal skin is also at risk for becoming irritated and swollen from an allergy. The most common cause of a genital allergy is use of underwear made of synthetic materials, such as polyester or elastane. Allergic reaction can also emerge from use of soaps or creams with strong scents or chemicals.  

What to do: To avoid allergies in the groin area, you should opt for 100% cotton underwear. If itching does not improve with fabric changes, try using a different body wash or soap in the shower, preferably one without chemicals or other potential skin irritants. In more severe cases that do not resolve on their own, you should consult your doctor. He or she may prescribe a topical corticosteroid to help with symptoms, such as hydrocortisone. 

6. Crabs

Crabs, also known as pubic lice, are tiny insects that develop in regions of course hair. They can cause intense scrotal itching and red skin. Crabs are often not detectable at the beginning of the infestation, but as time goes on and they begin to multiply, it is usually possible to see little black dots moving within the pubic hairs.

The transmission of public lice is usually through sexual intercourse, and therefore this condition is often considered to be a sexually transmitted infection.

What to do: Remove each insect using fine-tooth comb after having a shower and use an antiparasitic lotion or spray (which can be purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor).

7. Sexually-transmitted infections

Although this is not as common, itchy testicles can also be a sign of a sexually-transmitted infection (STI). Itchiness is particularly present with herpes or HPV infection. These infections are common after unprotected sexual intercourse, therefore if itchiness persists after sex, you should see a doctor.

What to do: If you suspect you have a sexually-transmitted infection, you should see your doctor for assessment. If a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment will be started promptly to avoid any serious complications. To prevent your risk of getting an STI, ensure you use a condom, especially when having sex with a new partner. 

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Written and updated by Daisy Oliveira - Registered Nurse on February of 2023. Clinical review by Dr. Rodolfo Favaretto - Urologist, on January of 2021.
Clinical review:
Dr. Rodolfo Favaretto
Dr. Favaretto is registered to practice under the CRM-SP license #133358 (Brazil). He has specialized in urology since 2016 and is a member of the American Urology Association.