Scrotal Dermatitis in Indians: Causes & Treatments for Rash on Scrotum
With inputs from Dr.Pravallika Devisetti, General Physician & Anesthesiologist
– Scrotal dermatitis is when dermatitis affects the skin of the scrotum. Dermatitis can affect any part of the body.
– Just like regular dermatitis, scrotal dermatitis can have bouts of flare ups and can get severe if left untreated
– Scrotal eczema or dermatitis can happen at any age and is more likely to occur if it runs in your family.
– It can be triggered by food allergies, allergy diseases, or any other allergic reactions.
– There are 4 types of scrotal dermatitis that are classified according to their severity
– It is curable through topical scrotal eczema creams, steroid creams and anti-inflammatory medications.
– It can be prevented through proper hygiene and care.
Dermatitis is a common skin condition in which the skin becomes dry, itchy, swollen or red. It is caused by a number of factors and can affect any part of the body. In severe dermatitis cases, the skin may be prone to blistering, oozing of pus, and even becomes crusty and flaky. Dermatitis or Eczema is common among children, but it can occur in people of all ages.
Dermatitis is a condition that involves intense itching and therefore causes a lot of discomfort. It is difficult to determine what triggers the condition and most people have observed that the condition typically dries out and resolves, only to worsen and flare up again.
What is scrotal dermatitis?
When dermatitis occurs in the genital area of a man, the condition is called scrotal dermatitis. Scrotal dermatitis is often mistaken for a fungal infection, commonly known as a jock itch. This is because the symptoms can be very similar to it and both conditions occur due to the same causes of trapped moisture or skin irritants. Around 50% of people who have experienced scrotal rash were most often diagnosed with Irritant Contact Scrotal Dermatitis.
The scrotal skin is extremely sensitive and prone to substances like sprays, alcohol, and in some cases, even soaps. It can especially be triggered by psychological stress and allergies. Scrotal dermatitis may also be due to the involvement of a systemic dermatosis (e.g., lichen planus or psoriasis), a dermophyte infection, or infestation (scabies or lice).
Scrotal dermatitis can either be a mild dry type of condition which resolves within a few days, or a severe chronic type in which the itching may spread to thighs. It can also lead to lesions and the presence of odor or become ulcerated and edematous in nature, where the scrotum swells with fluid and pus.
Fortunately, mild cases of dermatitis can be treated by dermatologists and do not require any lab testing or imaging. For more serious cases, patients will have to visit the hospital for dressings. Also, pus swabs may be taken for culture and sensitivity.
The most common symptoms that people experience with scrotal dermatitis are as follows:
- Itchy, inflamed and swollen scrotal skin
- Injury of the scrotal skin due to itchiness
- Itching spreading to inner thighs in some cases
- Inflammation causing discoloration, redness, fluid or pus-filled lesions
- Pain and infections in the scrotal area.
- Oozy skin with blisters filled with fluid or pus
- Dry, crusty, or leathery skin
- Burning sensation in the scrotal skin
Types of Scrotal dermatitis:
The above scrotal dermatitis symptoms can further be determined through the different types of scrotal dermatitis. According to a 2013 article, that urges that scrotal dermatitis must be classified separately from dermatitis, there are four classifications for scrotal dermatitis:
Scrotal dermatitis type 1: Dry, mild, or acute symptoms
A mild or moderate skin abnormality which is severely itchy, irritated or reddened. This type of dermatitis resolves in a few days and is not usually a cause of concern.
Scrotal dermatitis type 2: Severe eczema and dry skin symptoms
Type 2 of scrotal dermatitis is when the skin is crusty, flaky and leathery in nature. It may also be either bright red or pale and greyish in color. It is usually accompanied by a stinging burning sensation or an intense itch. In some cases, it also spreads to the inner thighs and/or underneath the penis.
Scrotal dermatitis type 3: Chronic, wet and septic symptoms
If the skin, scrotum and the inner thighs are moist and oozy with fluids and pus, it is considered to be type 3 of scrotal dermatitis. This type is more chronic and severe and may include painful sores. In some cases, the pus and fluids cause an unpleasant odor.
Scrotal dermatitis type 4: Swollen testicle and ulcerative dermatitis
The most severe case of scrotal dermatitis is the type 4 of scrotal dermatitis. In this type, the skin on the scrotum may be heavily swollen (scrotal edema) due to fluid retention and injury, and open wounds ooze out pus, or blood and could lead to ulcer on glans.
In rare extreme cases, this could also lead to the development of gangrene, due to serious infection.
For mild to moderate cases, consult a physician or a dermatologist. For serious cases, immediate medical attention at a hospital is mandatory. At mfine, we have a wide variety of specialized doctors who can help you understand and deal with this condition.
The actual cause for scrotal dermatitis is still unknown. Researchers have suggested that scrotal dermatitis causes varies for different types of dermatitis. Some scrotal eczema can occur as a result of eczema on testicles or in other parts of the body. Furthermore, it is observed that the skin on the scrotum is more sensitive and tender compared to the other parts of the body. This causes scrotal skin irritation from soaps, detergents and other toxic substances.
Here are some of the common itchy scrotum causes of scrotal dermatitis:
- Genetics or history of eczema in your family
Eczema or dermatitis also tend to be a hereditary concern so chances of you getting eczema or scrotal dermatitis is high if someone in your family has the condition too.
- History of allergic reactions
Eczema or scrotal dermatitis is more likely to affect you if you have a history of allergies.
- Susceptible/ Sensitive skin type
While it is not a significant cause for concern, if you have sensitive skin, you can keep your symptoms under control by incorporating a few changes into your routine. Consult a dermatologist for expert advice on skin care for sensitive skin.
- Asthma or hay fever
Sometimes, medical conditions also contribute to the development of eczema in children and adults. Allergic diseases like asthma and hayfever put offsprings at a higher risk of developing eczema which can lead to scrotal dermatitis eventually.
- Skin irritants caused by soaps, detergents or condoms
The substance used in soaps and detergents may linger in clothes and may cause scrotal skin irritation when the skin comes in contact with them. This could lead to dermatitis in the scrotum. For condoms, some types of rubber used in the condom may cause irritation or allergy of the skin on the scrotum.
- Humidity, heat and moisture
Heavy clothing in humid climates tend to retain a lot of moisture and heat which contributes to scrotal skin irritation and scrotal dermatitis.
Psychological stress causes damage to many parts of the body and the skin is not an exception. Stress can result in itchy skin which can lead to skin damage and scrotal dermatitis.
- Other factors
Factors like allergies from medication, vitamin deficiency or side effects of other medical conditions may be some of the itchy scrotum causes.
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With intense itching, scrotal edema and reddened skin, a scrotal dermatitis is easy to identify. A doctor will examine your rash to determine the type of scrotal dermatitis. They will also review your medical history to determine if the eczema is passed on from your family.
For severe cases of the condition, you may need to go to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a specialist in skin diseases and will scrap a small amount of your skin to conduct lab studies and determine the source of the infection.
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The most common scrotal dermatitis treatment is through the use of medicated ointments and creams. A doctor may prescribe suitable steroid creams, antihistamines, and moisturizers. Therapy for stress shall also be suggested. The doctor may also advise you against using any kind of over the counter medication that may increase the chances of itching.
Some of the other common options for scrotal eczema treatment are as follows:
- Steroid creams for local application
- Anti inflammatory medications
- UVB radiation therapy for chronic cases of dermatitis.
- Absorbent powders to help with the itch and keep the area dry
Prevention and Care:
Some scrotal dermatitis natural treatment and prevention tips to avoid this condition from occurring are as follows:
- Avoid using contraceptive creams or rubber condoms as they may cause infections leading to scrotal dermatitis.
- Opt for loose clothing especially if you live in a tropical area
- Opt for boxer shorts instead of briefs and cotton shorts over pants in order to air out the scrotal area
- Refrain from using scented soaps, detergents and moisturizers and keep all your products fragrance free or hypoallergenic
- Use a separate towel for your scrotal area and avoid using the same towel for any other purpose.
- Learn about the foods or substances that trigger your eczema and stay clear of it so as to avoid flaring it up
- Avoid itching and also make sure your nails are cut short so you don’t injury your skin
- Use moisturizers for dry eczema on testicles
- Watch out for condoms or find a brand that suits your skin type and refrain from changing the brand once it suits you.
- Consider stress management.
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1. Is scrotal dermatitis contagious?
Scrotal dermatitis or eczema is not contagious but constant itching can contribute to the development of the rash. Itching can damage the skin and damaged skin is more prone to dermatitis.
2. Is scrotal dermatitis curable?
Yes scrotal dermatitis is curable and preventable. Doctors will prescribe steroid creams or anti-inflammatory medications to control the flare ups. Additionally you could also understand what triggers the conditions and refrain from consuming foods or using substances that aggravate eczema.
3. Why is my testicle skin red and burning?
The testicle or the scrotum is a sack that contains the testes, where sperm is produced. Itching, burning or redness in this area could either be a condition called jock’s itch or scrotal dermatitis. Wear loose clothing, avoid using products that contain synthetic fragrances and be mindful of your allergies. If the problem persists, consult a general physician or a dermatologist to avoid worsening scrotal dermatitis.
4. Can eczema on inner thighs spread to my penis?
Eczema is not contagious but constant itching can damage skin cells and contribute to infection. Once an infection is triggered, it may spread to your thighs or foreskin which may give rise to other infections. Kindly consult a doctor for treatment of eczema on inner thighs.
5. What causes rash on scrotum?
Harsh soaps, detergents, deodorants, or any toxic substances when comes in contact with sensitive skin, may cause a rash. For rash on scrotum, tight clothing, harsh detergents, the rubber of condoms, humidity and moisture retention in the scrotal area and in some cases, stress, may cause a scrotal rash. A minor rash can make way for scrotal eczema and could cause a lot of discomfort. Kindly consult your doctor on treatment for scrotal rash.