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Scrotal Itch

Is it possible to relieve my husband's Scrotal Itch?

Question

Please help my 42-year-old husband, who is being slowly driven mad by an extremely itchy scrotum. He has consulted his GP often and been prescribed many types of topical creams including hydrocortisone, all to no avail. The only temporary relief is a topical anti-itch cream from the chemist. His underwear is hand-washed in non-bio powder and well rinsed. There's no rash, no infestation. Could it be diet? We are prepared to try anything!

Answer

The most common cause of scrotal itch is skin lesions such as psoriasis and eczema, when people can scratch so intensely that they make the skin bleed. But these conditions are of course visible and you say there is no rash, so we must think again.
One possibility is nervous itching which is not uncommon, especially as the scrotum is an erogenous zone where the nerves are very sensitive. The scrotum can itch with or without any skin lesions, as can the scalp, back, legs, arms and buttocks. All you need to do is scratch once and the urge to continue to do so is uncontrollable.

Excess sweating produces salt crystals, which can irritate tender skin and kick-start the scratching. So if your husband finds the problem is worse after exercise, say, or other activity, this could be a clue; many men do have the problem at this time. Warmth and moisture (as with perspiration) can also encourage candida in the skin, especially in the small folds and grooves of the scrotum. Candida in the skin causes itchiness and discoloration, but no eruptions.

Sometimes very hot baths and showers can cause very mild scalding and the skinbecomes hypersensitive and starts itching continuously. Some chemicals in bubblebaths, skincare products, bath cleaners and laundry products also affect a significant number of people, so you could consider replacing these with pure, natural products. The scrotum is a pouch in which the testes, which manufacture sperm, are suspended. Under the skin of the scrotum is a layer of muscles (the cremester muscles), Which consist during sexual arousal or in a cold environment, making the scrotum shrink. The testes manufacture sperm at a temperature 1.1 C lower than that of the body (sperm can't function at higher temperatures). The scrotum has a rich network of arteries and veins, which helps the 'air-conditioning, of the testes. The surrounding air cools the veins in a warm environment when it's cold, the scrotum and its blood vessels shrink in order to minimise heat loss.

Sometimes when the ligaments of the testes become weak, the testes drop. The scrotum becomes bigger and there can be fluid accumulation too, which may cause itching, as well as distension and pain. The best solution for this problem is to wear tight briefs or a jockstrap during the day - because the scrotum is lifted, the pressure on it is reduced and the irritation of the numerous nerve endings is less. (Usually, however, I recommend wearing cotton briefs to avoid sweatiness.)

Diet may be a factor. The best I can do is to give you some general tips to pass on to your husband:

    Avoid

  • Excess salt, alcohol, coffee, and the food flavouring MSG, which make the nerves hypersensitive so itching increases.
  • Citrus and sour fruits, mangoes and rhubarb, and excess vinegar, which often make the skin sensitive.
  • Yeast products (bread, pita bread, Marmite, pizza, beer, etc), which cause alcohol production in the gut.
  • Fungal products such as mushrooms and blue cheeses, which can feed candida in the system, and also in the skin - which may lead to itchiness.
  • Sugary foods, sweets, chocolate and desserts, which feed the candida and yeast in the gut.
  • Remedies to help suppress candida

  • Take two twigs of kadu and 1/3 teaspoon of kariatu, soak together overnight in a cup of hot water, then strain and drink in the morning on an empty stomach for two months.
  • Take Nutrispore tablets, an anti-fungal formulation, one tablet twice daily for a month.
  • To ease itching, apply pure aloe vera gel.
  • Breathing exercises are often useful in controlling itching, hiccups, sneezing and other continuous irritating symptoms. Take a deep breath in and hold for ten to l5 seconds then, just when you think you are running out of breath, gently exhale and inhale half a breath, holding it again for as long as you can. (Sometimes, while learning or practising this breath technique, you may experience twitching of the abdominal wall, or the chest wall may spontaneously expand as if to take the breath in. This is just a reflex, so don't panic - with practice, you will be able to do it with ease.) Do this exercise for two to three minutes whenever the itching starts.
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