An itch in the genital area is a very common symptom both in men and women. An itchy scrotum can be temporary and persistent as a result of several medical conditions. In most cases, a dermatovenerologist can make the diagnosis based on physical examination if the skin changes are visible. However, in some cases, there are no obvious reasons for the itching sensations and more detailed examinations are needed. Here are some of the most common causes of itch in the scrotal area.
There has been a debate among scientists whether this condition should be classified as a separate clinical entity or it is just common contact dermatitis located in the scrotal area. The symptoms of scrotal dermatitis include intense itching sensation, redness of the skin, and skin peeling in the affected area.
Actually, the prevalence of this condition has been underestimated by dermatovenerologists and is easily mixed up with fungal infections. After unsuccessful attempts to treat skin changes with antifungal drugs, some doctors realize that the scrotal dermatitis might be the problem. The cause is assumed to be psychological stress or the irritation in the scrotal region, but there is still not enough research. These persons should wear loose underwear to reduce irritation, and the treatment includes corticosteroid creams, antihistamines, and phototherapy using UVB radiation.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease affecting variable areas of the skin, accompanied with peeling, irritation, dry skin, and redness. Although psoriasis is usually not itchy, there are cases in which it can produce itching sensations. Psoriasis is also treated with corticosteroid creams and UVB light, but in some severe cases, oral corticosteroids are required.
Scabies is a very itchy skin condition caused by a mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei. Although it is usually related to poor hygiene, scabies can strike anyone as it is a very contagious condition. It is transmitted by direct contact, but also by using contaminated tools, such as towels and sheets. Scabies can affect genital region and produce symptoms which include itching and redness of the skin. Scratches are commonly seen in these patients, so the condition is easily recognized. Anti scabies creams (scabicides) treat scabies very effectively.
Fungal infections can be acquired by poor hygiene, but also sexually transmitted. Anyway, they often target genital region, because the fungi enjoy moist and warm environment. Other than itching sensations and skin discoloration, fungal infections can cause unusual skin odor in the affected region. Antifungal medications include topical creams and sometimes systemic antifungal medications. Good hygiene is crucial in order to prevent reoccurring fungal infections.
New underwear can contain some materials to which you may be allergic. This can produce an allergic skin reaction localized in the scrotal region. The primary symptom of allergy is itching, which is followed by swelling and redness of the skin. The symptoms are timely related to the use of the problematic underwear. Detergents or fabric softeners can also contain allergens which can trigger the allergic reaction. If the causative factor remains unrecognized, the symptoms will reappear. Therefore, the recognition and removal of the allergen is the most important task. Additionally, antihistamine creams can be applied to the affected regions.
Usually accompanied with localized redness and small blisters. You might get one or more of the following symptoms:
- decreased appetite
- severe fever
- flu-like symptoms
- general feeling of malaise/sadness
- muscle aches
- extremely swollen glands around the body.
- Golant AK, Levitt JO. (2012). Scabies: a review of diagnosis and management based on mite biology. Pediatr Rev. 33(1):e1-e12. doi: 10.1542/pir.33-1-e1.
- Krishnan A, Kar S. (2013). Scrotal Dermatitis - Can we Consider it as a Separate Entity? Oman Medical Journal. 28(5):302-305. doi:10.5001/omj.2013.91.
- Weger W. (2010). Current status and new developments in the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with biological agents. British Journal of Pharmacology. 160(4):810-820. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00702.x.
- Photo courtesy of SteadyHealth
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