Itchy testicles: can it really be a mycosis?

Intense irritations, redness, vesicles… Men are not spared by pruritus genitaI. When this extends to the testicles, the itching can become obsessive. Very often, they are the result of a mycosis of the skin, a frequent skin infection, linked to the proliferation of microscopic fungi. Local antifungal treatments generally make it possible to overcome them quickly. Explanations by Dr Jacques Savary, dermatologist, and Dr Isabelle Gallay, dermatologist and vice-president of the National Syndicate of Dermatologists-Venereologists.

Fungal infections do not directly affect the testicles!

Fungal infections are mainly due to mushrooms Candidaparticularly related to Candida albicans. This opportunistic species is usually harmless, but can become pathogenic under certain conditions, proliferate and cause unpleasant symptoms. When they settle in the folds of the groin, these fungi can reach the genitals, including the testicles, inner thighs and buttocks. We then speak ofintertrigo inguinalwhich is manifested by a rash, accompanied by intense itching.

Testicular mycoses do not exist as such. The fungi settle in the genital folds and can then reach the testicles, the inner thighs, even the anal area, insists Dr. Savary.

Note: people who already have foot or nail fungus have a higher risk of getting an inguinal intertrigo, because dermatophytes spread very easily when scratching.

Potential symptoms of skinfold fungus:

  • itches ;
  • a burning sensation in the affected area;
  • red or brown patches (erythematous) in the folds;
  • dry (cracked) or oozing (shiny) patches dotted with or surrounded by scales (flaps of skin);
  • blisters that contain clear fluid and look like small blisters;
  • etc

Good to know: “Genital mycoses do not have no impact on fertility and reproductive functions. It is an epidermal pathology only, recalls Dr. Savary.

Itching: why do men scratch their testicles?

The itching can therefore be linked to mycosis of the genital folds which then spread to the testicular region. Fungi can also settle in the glans and cause inflammation (balanitis). Initially, they generally reach the toes, then contaminate the other folds by indirect contact. Several factors can promote their proliferation at the genital level:

  • too tight clothes that irritate the skin;
  • dampness in the groin, due to excessive perspiration;
  • prolonged wearing of a wet bathing suit;
  • poor hygiene or, on the contrary, too strict hygiene;
  • sharing damp towels or clothing soaked in contaminated sweat;
  • close contact with an infected person;
  • taking certain medications (hormonal treatments, antibiotics, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, etc.);
  • etc

Itchy testicles can have other causes

  • They can be caused by excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and macerationor on the contrary, by a severe skin dryness.
  • In some cases, it isa contact allergy to a substance that regularly comes into contact with the testicles, such as certain shower gels, detergents or fabric softeners, for example.
  • They can also be linked to a skin disease such as of the’eczema or psoriasis.
  • Less and less common, scabies, linked to a tiny parasite (sarcoptes) which penetrates the skin and reproduces there, can also induce pruritus which reaches the genitals in humans.

“Finally, erythrasma, an infection of the skin folds due to Corynebacterium minutissimum can also be responsible for intense itching”, underlines Dr. Gallay. It requires rapid management, with antibiotics.

The treatment of fold yeast infections is quite simple. It is mainly based on local antifungals, in the form of a cream. They contain in particular imidazolesactive on a large number of fungi, including Candida albicans.

If these topical treatments are not enough, it is possible to prescribe oral antifungals (fluconazole). The symptoms generally disappear after fifteen days. A corticosteroid cream may also be prescribed when scratching causes inflammatory lesions.

To complete this treatment:

  • wash the affected area thoroughly with warm water and soap.
  • after showering, swimming or exercising, dry the affected area thoroughly.
  • change clothes and underwear every day.
  • prefer loose, cotton clothing.
  • Continue the treatment until the end, even if the infection already seems to disappear.

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