Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 14, 2011

I itch in the testicle region. And one testicle looks bigger than before...also, my scrotum can get really red. What’s going on?

Over the last year, I’ve been itching in the testicle region...it comes and goes. My scrotum can get really red, and sometimes it feels like shooting pain or insects biting. One of my testicles also looks bigger than before. What’s going on?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on September 14, 2011

Thanks for sharing your question. I hate to say it, but itchiness and shooting pain in the testicles is not normal...so I would first encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor for a full examination.

That said, you might have jock itch, which is caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Or, your symptoms might indicate a skin condition or an infection...for example, a yeast infection.

Yeast infections occur when the yeast that normally lives on your skin overgrows (and yes, men can get yeast infections, too). Yeast infections tend to make your skin feel itchy, and they can cause redness or swelling. Yeast also thrives in warm and humid environments, like underneath your testicles or under the foreskin in uncircumcised men. And men with diabetes are more likely to get yeast infections.

Inverse psoriasis is another possible cause of your discomfort. It’s a skin condition that’s probably genetic. Usually people who have inverse psoriasis have redness and itching in some areas of their bodies where skin touches skin (like your underarms and genitals).

Dermatitis, another skin condition, is often caused by an allergic reaction...some people are allergic to soaps, perfumes or detergent. If you noticed the itchiness began when you changed to a new product, this could be the reason.

What about the shooting, biting pain you’re experiencing? This is perhaps the most serious of your symptoms. Why? Because it indicates a possible inflammation in your reproductive organs.

One possible cause is epididymitisan inflammation of the epididymis (the coiled tube on the back of the testicle). Epididymitis can also cause one of your testicles to become larger than the other. Sometimes injury or twisting of the testicle (called torsion) can cause this kind of pain, too...all more reasons to see your doctor sooner, rather than later, before more serious complications from an untreated condition set in.

Finally, keep in mind that epididymitis can sometimes be caused by STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea...so you might want to talk to your doctor about your sexual history and risk for STDs, too.

For more information about STD symptoms, complications, testing and prevention, see our Expert Guide to STD Basics.

Thanks again for your question, and I wish you good luck and good health.

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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