It’s one of the most irresistible urges known to mankind, something any guy would do all day if it weren’t a social taboo: scratching your balls. As a matter of fact, half of you guys are probably fondling your family jewels as you read this.
But if you asked the average dude why he’s scratching his scrotum, you’d be hard-pressed to get an answer other than “Feels good.” The question remains: How do you tame a pair of itchy testicles? Is it as simple as switching laundry detergent? Or do you need an STD test?
In all likelihood, your itchy balls are caused by chafing, excessive sweating, or manscaping mishaps. You can easily avoid these with better hygiene and grooming habits. But if your itchy balls persist, it could be the sign of an STD such as genital herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia.
Let’s take a look at the most common culprits for itchy balls and what you can do besides compulsively scratch yourself.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that your genital area is a breeding ground for bacteria. A failure to scrub your scrotum regularly can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, oil, and sweat, leading to a buildup of bacteria and fungi.
These microorganisms release waste chemicals that cause itchy balls and fungal infections like dermatophytes and candidiasis (yes, they’re as horrific as they sound). Poor hygiene is also a common cause of an itchy butthole.
Solutions: Wash your balls, dude. If itching doesn’t ease up, ask your doctor about antifungal creams.
Also known as tinea cruris, jock itch is basically athlete’s foot on your nuts. It’s a scrotal skin infection caused by excessive sweating in the groin area. While usually harmless, jock itch isn’t ideal unless you want to spend your waking hours scratching your testicles.
Solutions: Shower immediately after workouts and use over-the-counter antifungal powders/creams. Do NOT use greasy lotion or ointments—they induce swamp ass and make jock itch even more miserable. Instead, fight moisture with a daily dose of DUDE Powder.
Runners beware: when your inner thighs rub up against your nuts too much, the friction can cause an itchy rash. Left unchecked, chafing can cause blisters and cracked scaly skin.
Solutions: Lather up with lotion or wear an athletic supporter.
Pubic Lice (AKA “Crabs”)
Pubic lice fester in the coarse hair surrounding your nether regions, where they feed on your blood. This typically happens when you hop in the sheets with someone else who has pubic lice. Common symptoms include a powdery substance in your underwear or tiny red or blue bite marks.
Solution: You’ll need to talk to your doc, who can confirm its crabs, and write a prescription for a special shampoo or lotion to kill the lice.
If you’re an excessive sweater, you may develop this red rash that itches and stings. Intertrigo is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria between the skin folds in moist environments. Exhibit A: your groin.
Solution: Over-the-counter creams like Neosporin can take care of the bacteria.
This skin infection is caused by mites, tiny creatures related to ticks that live in the soil. Scabies spread when you have direct skin contact with an infected person—people with scabies experience intense itching, especially at night.
Solution: There are several types of topical and oral medications that can kill mites and their eggs, but it’s up to your doctor to decide what’s right for you.
Laundry detergents and body washes often contain mystery chemicals that trigger allergic reactions or contact dermatitis within a few hours or days of exposure. The most common symptoms of contact dermatitis are dry, red, blistered skin in the affected area.
Solution: Switch to hypoallergenic or natural body wash and laundry detergent.
Thoughtlessly hacking away at your pubes is a recipe for ingrown hairs and razor bumps, both of which cause intense itching that will make your life a living hell.
Solutions: If you’re shaving your pubic hair, use warm water, plenty of shaving cream, and glide a sharp razor with the grain of your hair, not against it.
For some guys, itching in the genital area might be the first sign of a sexually transmitted infection such as human papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia.
Solution: First of all, invest in a pack of condoms—better to fork up a few bucks for rubbers instead of God-knows-how-much for STD treatments. If you think there’s a chance you have an STD, call your doctor or visit a testing clinic.
Is It Acceptable to Scratch Your Nuts in Public?
When it comes to the issue of public nut-scratching, the internet is divided. Pro-scratch constituents contend that an itch is an itch, and neither men nor women should suffer because of the stigma.
On the other hand, anti-scratchers point out the lack of hygiene that goes with touching one’s genitals, even in a non-sexual way. Hygiene aside, most people don’t want to live in a world where people walk around with their hands down their pants.
Both camps make strong arguments, so we landed on a bipartisan verdict: If you must scratch, maneuver, or un-stick your balls in public, the hand must remain over the pants, and the act must be quick and discrete (two seconds or less).
Case closed. Itch gone.
The Key to Preventing Itchy Balls In the First Place
There are several causes for itchy balls, ranging from benign inconveniences to legit medical conditions that require a doctor’s visit. That said, there are three precautionary measures every dude should take to keep his balls breezy:
- Wash your balls every day, especially after sex or intense exercise. On the go? Keep a shower in your pocket.
- Fight chafing and excessive moisture with a daily dose of body powder.
- Adhere to the ultimate manscaping guide, so you don’t needlessly suffer from avoidable grooming mistakes.
Your plums will thank you later.