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Anonymous on September 28, 2011

I have itchy, uncomfortable bumps on my scrotum. What are they?

I've noticed some itchy and uncomfortable bumps on my balls or my scrotum or testicles or whatever. What do you think these could be?  

answered by
Daniel Perlman, MD, MBA on September 28, 2011

Thanks for sharing your concern. While only your doctor can make a specific diagnosis upon examining you, I’ll do my best to help you understand some of the possible causes of your discomfort.

First, the bumps you describe could indicate a harmless condition...like an allergic reaction to medication, soap, laundry detergent or something else you may have been exposed to. Sometimes, men can get ingrown hairs on the scrotum (the sac that contains the testicles) as well. 

Again, your doctor will be able to help you distinguish between these and other possible causes...

For example, some STDs can cause bumps on the scrotum, including genital herpes or genital warts. Both are relatively common and easy to catch because they can both be transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact, as well as vaginal, anal or oral sex.

While not curable, both conditions are easily treatable...once you get tested and know your STD status, you can get treated ⎼ if necessary ⎼ to minimize bothersome symptoms (like itching) and reduce your risk of passing a virus or bacteria to sexual partners.

What other STDs cause uncomfortable bumps? While less likely, syphilis and HIV can also sometimes cause genital bumps and discomfort. 

If you’ve had unprotected sex with someone whose STD status you don’t know, or if any other STD risk factors apply to you, talking to your doctor about testing for a full array of common STDs is a good idea...just to be on the safe side.

I wish you good luck in addressing your symptoms and taking care of your sexual health.

Related Info: 

Daniel Perlman, MD, MBA

Dr. Perlman is a Colorado-based infectious disease specialist (including HIV and other STDs) in private practice at Greater Denver Infectious Diseases. Additionally, he is Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Perlman was educated at theUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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