The testicles (plural testis) are the male reproductive organs that are inside the scrotum and produce and secrete semen and male reproductive hormones. The discoloration or darker pigmentation of the testis can happen gradually with age or may have several reasons. Some causes of darker discoloration of testicles are angiokeratoma of Fordyce, testicular torsion, and many more. In this article, some of the causes of testicular darkness are explained with their causes and treatment.
What Conditions Can Lead to Dark Discoloration of Testicles?
1. Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch):
It is a fungal infection that causes a red patch in the gonads or inner portion of the thighs, which is itchy. The shape of the rash is usually like a ring. The name Jock itch is given because the condition is common in athletes.
Causes: The infection is caused by person-to-person transmission of the fungus. It can happen by physical contact or by sharing contaminated towels or clothes.
Symptoms of Jock Itch: The infection begins with a red-colored rash on the skin, which gradually spreads to the upper thigh in the shape of a half-moon. The rash is either ring-shaped or in a bordered line of small blisters. It may be itchy, making the skin flaky or scaly.
Treatment: The treatment of Jock itch includes the administration of over-the-counter medicines known as an antifungal ointment, lotion, powder, or spray.
Prevention: Preventing fungal infection includes keeping the area of infection dry, washing the area with a clean cloth, and avoid sharing personal towels and clothes.
2. Angiokeratoma of Fordyce:
It is a condition in which the spots are made up of blood vessels that expand, dilate, and become visible on the surface of the skin.
Causes: Fordyce's exact cause of angiokeratoma is unknown, but some researchers suggest that high blood pressure can cause the appearance of spots. These spots are also seen in people suffering from hemorrhoids, chronic constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, Fabry disease is one of the only proposed causes of angiokeratoma of Fordyce. It is of two types:
Type 1 (Classic): In this type of Fabry disease, the fat builds up in the body quickly from birth. The symptoms start appearing during the teenage or childhood.
Type 2 (Later- Onset): In this case of disease, the fat accumulates slower than type 1, and the signs and symptoms are not available until the person is in their 30s or even late 70s.
Symptoms: Along with dark black spots on the scrotum, some other symptoms caused by the condition are bowel symptoms, including diarrhea or constipation, hypohidrosis (insufficient sweating), ringing sounds in the ears, and visible eye cloudiness.
Treatment: Although angiokeratoma does not need treatment, the doctor may recommend its removal if the spots cause irritation or bother. The removal of the spots can be carried out by procedures such as electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C), laser removal, or cryotherapy (freezing of the tissue by the doctor).
3. Testicular Torsion:
Testicular torsion is a condition that occurs when the testicles rotate and the spermatic cord is twisted, which brings blood to the scrotum. The reduced blood flow leads to sudden and often severe pain and swelling in the testicles. The condition also leads to the darkening of the testicular skin. It generally happens between the ages of 12 to 18 years. Sometimes it can also occur before the birth.
Symptoms: The testicular torsion shows symptoms such as swelling of the scrotum, darker pigmentation of the skin of the scrotum, nausea and vomiting in some cases, and frequent urination.
Risk Factors: The chances of testicular torsion arise between the ages of 12 to 18 or in cases with a family history of testicular torsion. It can also reoccur if there is already an episode of testicular torsion.
Treatment: The torsion is corrected generally by surgery; however, in some cases, the doctor may untwist the testicles by pushing the scrotum back, this technique is known as manual detorsion. In cases of surgery, a small incision is made in the scrotum under general anesthesia, and the spermatic cord is untwisted. If necessary, then one or both the testicles are stitched along with the scrotum. It is indicated to untwist the torsion as early as possible as it may be difficult to twist later and may re-occur.
4. Genital Warts:
These are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections affecting the testicles or inner thigh areas. Warts can appear as both white or darker bumps resembling the cauliflower.
5. Scrotal Dermatitis:
It is inflammation of the skin of the scrotum. Exposure to allergies and irritants regularly can cause this infection.
6. Physical Bruises:
Any injury or trauma to the testicles can also lead to darkening of the testicles due to the pooling of the blood in the tissues.
7. Ingrown Dark Hair Follicles:
Often, the removal of hairs from the testicles by shaving or waxing leads to the growth of new hairs which are darker in color and make the testicles appear darker.
8. Pimples and Blackheads:
These small skin conditions can be caused due to mild infections or clogging of the pores. Most of these pimples and blackheads are harmless and can be removed by simple home remedies and good hygiene.
The development of more pigments in some areas of the skin of testicles leads to a darker appearance. This can appear as lesions such as freckles, moles, sun spots, or age spots.
10. HIV (Human Immuno-Suppressant Virus) Infection:
This is a rare cause of darker testicles in a few cases.
How to Treat Dark Testicles?
Treating the darker pigmentation or spots of the testicles depends on the underlying cause. Curing the cause may help to get back the normal skin of the testicles; however, in some cases, it may be irreversible also.
The darkening of testicles can be due to several causes such as pooling of blood, inflammation, skin infections, fungal infections, and some diseases which may lead to the formation of dark spots. The symptoms and treatment of the cause of darkening depends on the underlying disease of the condition.