Having an itch on or around your testicles or your scrotum, the sack of skin that holds your testicles in place, isn’t uncommon. Sweating in your groin area after walking around during the day can cause your balls to itch more than usual. Even just not bathing for a few days can make them itch until you get cleaned up.

But other physical and medical conditions can also cause your balls to get itchy. Some of these conditions may require you to talk to your doctor about a treatment plan or medication in order to take care of the source of the itch.

Possible causes of itchy balls include:

Chafing or irritation

Dry skin around your genital area is common if you walk around in dry heat. Exercising for long periods of time can also cause your skin to get irritated or chafed. In some cases, the skin can be rubbed away enough to cause bleeding.

Some common signs of chafing and irritation include:

  • skin feeling raw to the touch
  • redness or rash on the skin
  • surface-level cuts or openings in your skin

Fungal infection

Many fungi are almost invisible to the naked eye. Fungi usually live in giant colonies that are also barely visible, even when they’re living on your body. Fungal infections can easily develop around your genital area and testicles if you have unprotected sex or poor hygiene.

One of the most common fungal infections of the genitals is candidiasis . Candida fungi live in or on your body in your intestines and skin. If they grow out of control, they can cause an infection. This can cause your balls to get itchy.

A different type of fungus, called a dermatophyte, can also result in a similar infection called jock itch.

Other symptoms can include:

  • pain while urinating
  • burning around your scrotum and penis
  • swelling of the scrotum or penis skin
  • reddish skin around the scrotum or penis
  • abnormal odor
  • dry, flaky skin

Learn more about jock itch.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a type of viral infection that can be spread during sex or physical contact with infected skin.

Your balls can feel extremely itchy or uncomfortable when you have an outbreak of this virus. Other symptoms of genital herpes include:

  • feeling exhausted or sick
  • burning or itching around your testicles and penis
  • blisters around your genital area that can pop and become open sores
  • pain while urinating

Learn more about genital herpes.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), often referred to as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), caused by bacteria. It can infect your genital area as well as your mouth, throat, and rectum. It’s easily transmitted by unprotected sex.

Gonorrhea can make your balls itchy and swollen. Other common symptoms of gonorrhea include:

  • pain or burning while urinating
  • leaking discolored (green, yellow, or white) discharge from the penis
  • testicular pain, especially only in one testicle at a time

Learn more about gonorrhea.

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). You may not notice genital warts even when you have an outbreak because they can be extremely small.

Like warts on other parts of your body, genital warts usually look like small, discolored bumps that may or may not be itchy. They’re often cauliflower-shaped and appear in large groups together with other warts. They may appear right on your scrotum or as far away as your inner thighs. When you have genital warts, you may notice swelling in the area or bleed during sex.

Learn more about genital warts.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is an STI spread by a bacterial infection. It can be spread even if you don’t ejaculate during sex. Like many other STIs, it can also be spread through genital sex as well as oral and anal sex.

Chlamydia can make your balls itchy and even swollen. Chlamydia usually makes only one testicle feel painful and swollen, which is one of the most distinct signs that you may have an infection. Other symptoms include:

  • discolored (green, yellow, or white) discharge from the penis
  • pain or burning while urinating
  • pain, bleeding, or discharge from the rectum or anus

Learn more about chlamydia.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis, often known simply as “crabs”) are a type of lice that live in the pubic hair around your genital area or in areas with similarly coarse hair.

Like other types of lice, pubic lice feed on your blood and can’t fly or jump. They can only be spread by coming into contact with someone who has them. This can happen by touching someone in an area where they have a lice infestation.

Pubic lice can’t spread disease or infection when they feed on your blood, but they can make your balls and genital area feel itchy as they crawl around in your pubic hair. You may also notice a powder-like substance in your underwear or small red or blue spots from louse bites.

Learn more about pubic lice.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis (often called trich) is a bacterial STI caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis bacteria.

Trich more commonly infects women, but it can be transmitted to men if condoms or oral dams aren’t used during sex.

Many people who get trich infections never have any symptoms, but trich can cause irritation or inflammation that can make your genital area feel uncomfortable and make it more painful to have sex.

Trich can make your balls feel itchy and cause other symptoms, such as:

  • itchy feeling inside your penis
  • discolored (green, yellow, or white) discharge from the penis
  • pain or burning while urinating or when ejaculating during sex

Learn more about trichomoniasis.

Scabies

Scabies is a skin infection that is caused by a mite. The microscopic scabies mite, or Sarcoptes scabiei, is transmitted when you have direct skin contact with an infected person.

It may take several weeks for symptoms to appear after infection. Common symptoms include itching and a rash. People with scabies also experience intense itching symptoms at night.

Learn more about scabies.

Treatment for your itchy balls depends on what’s causing the itch.

To treat chafing and irritation

Chafing and irritation can be treated using lotion or powder that prevents your skin from rubbing against another surface of skin. Using bandages or gauze to cover up a chafed, irritated area can also help make your balls less itchy.

To treat fungal infections

Fungal infections can go away on their own, but you may need to be treated by antifungals or antifungal creams and ointments. See your doctor for antifungal medication if you believe a fungal infection is causing your balls to itch.

To treat genital herpes

You may need to take antiviral medication, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex) or acyclovir (Zovirax), for a genital herpes outbreak. Treatment lasts for about a week, but you may need long-term medication if you get outbreaks frequently.

To treat gonorrhea

Gonorrhea infections can be treated and cured with prescription medication. Talk to your doctor about getting treatment as soon as you notice symptoms. Long-term complications of gonorrhea, such as infertility, can’t be cured once the damage has been done.

To treat genital warts

Genital warts can be treated with medicated ointments for your skin, such as imiquimod (Aldara) and podofilox (Condylox). In some cases, your doctor may need to remove warts by freezing them (cryotherapy) or performing surgery to remove them.

To treat chlamydia

Chlamydia can be treated with medication, such as azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline (Acticlate, Doryx). You’ll have to wait at least a week after treatment to have sex again.

To treat pubic lice

Pubic lice can be treated with medications prescribed by your doctor or by over-the-counter treatments. Thoroughly washing the affected area and applying the medication helps kill many of the lice, but you’ll still need to comb through the hair to remove the rest yourself.

You can buy kits for lice removal at many drugstores.

To treat trichomoniasis

Trich can be treated with several doses of tinidazole (Tindamax) or metronidazole (Flagyl). After taking the medication, don’t have sex again for at least a week.

To treat scabies

Your doctor can prescribe ointments, creams, and lotions that can get rid of scabies and treat the rash and itching. Most topical treatments for scabies are applied at night when the mites are most active. It’s then washed off in the morning.

Bathing or showering regularly can prevent the most common causes of itchy balls, including irritation and fungal infections. Shower at least once a day or after you’ve been outside for a long time, especially if you’ve been sweating a lot.

Wearing condoms or using oral dams during sex can help prevent the spread of almost any STI. Getting regularly tested for STIs, especially if you’re sexually active, can help keep you aware of your sexual health and prevent you from transmitting infections without knowing it.

Communicate with your sexual partners if you find out that you have an STI. It’s likely that you either transmitted the disease to them or contracted it from them, so make sure that you and your partners get treated to prevent the infection from spreading any further.

The most common causes of itchy balls are irritation and fungal infections from poor hygiene or excess sweating. Regularly bathing and applying lotion and powder can prevent most cases.

The itchiness can also be caused by STDs like genital herpes, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. These infections may require prescription medications.