Read below about scrotal redness, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your scrotal redness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Scrotal Redness Symptoms

Issues related to the genital area can be embarrassing and uncomfortable situations to discuss; however, genital health is an important topic as it can signal underlying health problems beyond those related to reproductive or sexual capabilities such as ejaculation or erection. Any issues related to the penis or parts of the genitalia should be followed-up appropriately.

The scrotum is an external sac of skin that encloses the testicles (also known as testes). The testicles are the round, egg-shaped male reproductive organs behind the penis. The main function of the testes-scrotal system is the production of sperm — male reproductive cells — and testosterone, a hormone important for male sexual and reproductive development.

See this image for a visual representation of the testicle and its anatomy within the scrotum here.

Characteristics

Scrotal redness may also be associated with symptoms such as:

Fortunately, scrotal redness is a benign and easily treatable disease. If you notice any of the symptoms above, follow-up promptly with your physician in order to get appropriate care and treatment.

Scrotal Redness Causes Overview

Redness (also known as erythema) of the skin is the result of increased flow in the blood vessels close to the skin that occurs in the setting of injury, infection or generalized inflammation. There are many things that may cause a red scrotum, so it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis.

Inflammatory

Inflammatory causes of scrotal redness can be related to the following.

  • Infection: Many different infectious pathogens can infect the genital area — bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These infections are often but not exclusively sexually transmitted and can also result in associated symptoms such as dysuria and penile discharge. Fungal infections can also result in white patches on the scrotum in addition to redness.
  • Dermatologic: There are multiple dermatologic diseases that can affect the scrotum and cause redness and associated symptoms. For example, psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that is characterized by erythematous papules or plaques (small, raised lesions or swellings) with irregular borders covered by scales. Psoriasis can affect both the scrotum and penis [5].

Hygienic

Proper hygiene is key in maintaining genital health. Regularly cleaning underneath the foreskin of the penis and around the scrotum with mild soap and water is very important in keeping harmful bacteria away. It is also important to practice good sexual hygiene. Using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners is essential in preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

Allergens

Being exposed to allergens can easily irritate this sensitive area of the body.

  • Irritants: Many substances can irritate the skin and cause rashes and redness. This is known as dermatitis. Products such as heavily scented soaps, lotions, perfumes and cleansers used around the genital area can be very irritating and cause inflammation to the scrotum due to allergic or sensitivity reactions [3,4].
  • Medication: Some medications may cause reactions that result in redness, inflammation or swelling of the scrotum. For example, older males who have a history of prolonged topical corticosteroid use may develop red scrotum syndrome as a side effect of the medication [1]. Talk to your physician about any medications you have started and possible side effects.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Scrotal Redness

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced scrotal redness. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)

    Tinea cruris is a common fungal infection of the skin in the groin area. It can cause ring-shaped redness, and sometimes itching or pain.

    With treatment the rash should be gone within 2-3 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    groin redness, groin itch, scabbed area of the groin, rash, itchy rash
    Symptoms that always occur with jock itch (tinea cruris):
    groin redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Scabies

    Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by mites that produce an itchy rash on the body.

    Rash and intense itching should subside within 2-4 days with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, feeling itchy or tingling all over, butt itch, elbow itch
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Genital Warts

    Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It is caused by infection by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). While it cannot be cured, treatment may help.

    Infection with HPV cannot be cured, but the warts themselves can be removed surgically or sometimes resolve themselves in a matter of weeks.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    small groin lump, skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, painless groin lump, scaly groin bump
    Symptoms that always occur with genital warts:
    scaly groin bump
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)

    Tinea Corporis is a common fungal infection of the skin. This rash is sometimes called "ringworm" and results in ring-shaped redness that is often itchy.

    With treatment, the rash should resolve within 2-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dry skin, rash, red rash, itchy rash, curved rash
    Symptoms that never occur with ringworm (tinea corporis):
    groin skin changes, fever, scrotal itch, groin itch, facial skin changes, hand skin changes, genital skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

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  5. 5.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Groin

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    groin redness, groin itch, scabbed area of the groin
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the groin:
    groin redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  6. 6.Irritant Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance. This condition most often affects skin of the hands, and may occur after repeated and prolonged exposure to substances such as water, detergents (soaps, bleach), solvents (such as gasoline), acids, powders, dust, and soil. The onset of the skin reaction is usually within 48 hours of coming in contact with the substance.

    1-2 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with well-defined border, itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, painful rash, red rash
    Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    rash with well-defined border
    Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis:
    fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

    Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to be dry, itchy, red, and irritated.

    This is a long-term, recurring condition but symptoms are manageable with care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, feeling itchy or tingling all over, dry skin, scalp itchiness, flexor surface rash
    Symptoms that never occur with eczema (atopic dermatitis):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  8. 8.Epididymitis

    Epididymitis is swelling (inflammation) of the epididymis, a tube that sits on top of the testicle and is involved in making sperm. Most cases of inflammation are due to an infection.

    Pain eases in a few days, swelling may take up to a week to go down.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, fever, chills, pain in one testicle, vomiting
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Testicular Torsion

    Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle rotates which cuts off the testicle's blood supply. This causes severe pain and swelling.

    With prompt treatment, it is unlikely there will be any permanent damage. It is important to get to the hospital within 6 hours of the start of pain to make sure the testicle can be saved.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    testicle pain, nausea, pain in one testicle, vomiting, testicular swelling
    Symptoms that always occur with testicular torsion:
    testicle pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Scrotal Redness Treatments and Relief

Treatment for scrotal redness will depend on the cause and may include the following:

  • Antibiotics: Your physician will prescribe the appropriate antibiotics if your scrotal redness is the result of a bacterial infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

  • Antifungal medication: Yeast such as candida are fungi that can be treated with topical or systemic medications that your healthcare provider can prescribe.

  • Dermatological creams: If your symptoms are caused by a dermatologic skin condition, your physician may prescribe steroid creams or ointments that can help alleviate your symptoms. However, it is important to remember that sometimes prolonged use of such creams can result in red scrotum syndrome as a side effect.

  • Anticonvulsant: Several anticonvulsant medications are used to combat nerve pain or burning. Some studies have shown improvement in conditions such as red scrotum syndrome with treatment with gabapentin.

Prevention

There are some preventative measures you can take in order to stop scrotal redness and its associated symptoms:

  • Proper hygiene: As stated above, poor hygiene can be a cause of scrotal redness. Properly and regularly cleaning the penis and scrotum are steps you can take at home to prevent symptoms.
  • Sexually responsible habits: Preventing sexually transmitted infections not only involves using condoms but also limiting sexual partners and getting tested regularly.

FAQs About Scrotal Redness

Here are some frequently asked questions about scrotal redness.

Can I continue to have sex while being treated for redness of my scrotum?

If you are being treated for scrotal redness that is NOT caused by infection or a contagious condition, you can continue to have sex as tolerated. It is not advisable to continue sexual relations during treatment for infections as there is a high risk of transmission, even with proper condom use.

Is redness of my scrotum life-threatening?

Most causes of redness of the scrotum are benign and not life-threatening; however, that does not mean you should not follow-up your symptoms with a healthcare professional. Untreated sexually transmitted infections can result in such as permanent damage and infertility.

Are there at home treatments I can use to treat my scrotal redness?

It is important to get the appropriate diagnosis before self-treating for scrotal redness. There are multiple over-the-counter remedies you can use for specific causes of scrotal redness; for example, in the case of fungal candidiasis, there are many options such as nystatin or Monistat.

Why does my red scrotum burn?

The burning pain sensation you may feel in your scrotum may be due to the underlying disease process — inflammation, infection, etc. — or it may be due to neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain results from damage or injury to the nerves and sensory system responsible for perceiving touch, pressure, pain, position, temperature, movement and vibration. In relation to pain, when there is damage to this system, signals to the brain are not properly transmitted and pain can be experienced in the absence of obvious injury.

What is the purpose of the scrotum?

The purpose of the scrotum is to help maintain the temperature necessary for the testes to properly make sperm (spermatogenesis). The testes are located outside the body and not internally because they need a lower temperature in order to make sperm [7]. The normal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit whereas the temperature in the scrotum is 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Scrotal Redness

  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Do you notice anything going on with your testicles or scrotum?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Are you sexually active?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our scrotal redness symptom checker to find out more.

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Scrotal Redness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced scrotal redness have also experienced:

    • 17% Scrotal Itch
    • 15% Testicle Pain
    • 3% Pain in One Testicle
  • People who have experienced scrotal redness had symptoms persist for:

    • 32% Over a Month
    • 27% Less Than a Week
    • 18% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced scrotal redness were most often matched with:

    • 50% Scabies
    • 37% Genital Warts
    • 12% Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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References

  1. Red scrotum syndrome. J Dermatol Case Rep. 2011;5(3):38-41. NCBI Link
  2. Merhi R, Ayoub N, Mrad M. Carvedilol for the treatment of red scrotum syndrome. JAAD Case Rep. 2017;3(5):464-466. Published 2017 Sep 9. doi:10.1016/j.jdcr.2017.06.021. NCBI Link
  3. Krishnan A, Kar S. Scrotal Dermatitis - Can we Consider it as a Separate Entity?. Oman Med J. 2013;28(5):302-5. NCBI Link
  4. Contact Dermatitis. National Eczema Association. National Eczema Org Link
  5. Liu J, Chen W, Zhou J, Liu J, Zhang J. Psoriasis with extramammary Paget disease in a male: a case report. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015;8(7):8642-4. Published 2015 Jul 1. NCBI Link
  6. Colloca L, Ludman T, Bouhassira D, et al. Neuropathic pain. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17002. Published 2017 Feb 16. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2017.2 NCBI Link
  7. Jones RE, Lopez KH. The Male Reproductive System: Chapter 4. doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-382184-3.00004-0. Science Direct Link