- Why has my penis gone numb?
- Male genital dysaesthesia
- What is male genital dysaesthesia?
- Which men get genital dysaesthesia?
- Findings on examination
- What is the cause of genital dysaesthesia?
- Are special tests or investigations needed?
- How is male genital dysaesthesia treated?
- Long-term outlook for men with genital dysaesthesia
- 3 Possible Testicle Numbness Causes
- What’s That Tingling Sensation in Your Lower Extremities When Looking Down From An Extreme Height?
- Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
- Signs and Symptoms
- Testicular Self-Examination
Other Qs & As
Any help for retractile testicles?
Are my testicles normal?
Can masturbation cause testicular cancer?
Checking for cancer in undescended testes
Discomfort in testicles
Do I have testicular cancer?
Do I really need an epididymectomy?
Dry skin on testicles
I had a testicular torsion, but can I now have children?
Irritation on the scrotum skin area
Itchy skin around my testicles
Loose skin on my scrotum
Lump on the scrotum
Lumps behind the testicle
My epididymis is still growing
My scrotum gurgles when I squeeze it
My son only has one testicle – will he be unhappy?
My testicles are different sizes
My testicles have changed size
Skin irritation on the testicle
Skin irritation on the testicles
Surgery for undescended testicles
Testicle problems – tightness during sex
Treatment for a hydrocoele
Visiting the doctor without mum and dad
What is the small lump on my scrotum?
White lumps on the scrotum
Will I get orchitis again?
Worried about testicular lumps
Why has my penis gone numb?
A number of issues can lead to a loss of sensation, and some activities and lifestyle factors can increase the risk.
The following can cause numbness in the penis:
Share on PinterestCycling applies pressure to the penis and groin area that can cause numbness.
An injury on or around the penis can cause it to become numb. This can result from damage to certain nerves or blood vessels.
Usually, sensitivity will return in time. If it does not, speak to a doctor.
The following can lead to pressure or injury to the penis or groin area:
Riding a bicycle. The bumps and friction of the road can injure the perineum, testicles, and penis. Cycling can also place pressure on the groin and temporarily restrict nerves or blood vessels, leading to penile numbness.
Sitting for too long. Sitting on uncomfortable or unpadded chairs for long periods can put enough pressure on the penis or perineum to result in injury. The perineum should not support the weight of the body.
General irritation. Soaps and other hygiene products are more likely to irritate the sensitive skin on and around the penis. Using gentle, hypoallergenic soaps can help.
Friction from tight clothes. Tight or rough underwear can irritate the penis, causing an itchy or tingling sensation. This kind of clothing can also cause redness, especially around the tip of the penis.
During sexual activity, the erect penis is not flexible. This rigidity can put the penis at risk for fracture or bruising, which can cause pain, irritation, numbness, and changes in color.
Vigorous or excessive friction from masturbation and other types of sexual activity can also cause injury that leads to numbness. If a person notices a reduction in sensitivity, it may help to cut back or try different forms of masturbation.
Damage can also result from using a pump, which sucks blood into the penis to achieve an erection. Numbness, bruising, cuts, and red or purple spots called petechiae may appear on the skin.
Penis rings can help some people with erectile dysfunction, but overuse can lead to bruising and other types of damage.
Testosterone is an important hormone with wide-ranging effects, including a role in regulating muscle mass and sex drive. After puberty, testosterone levels gradually decline, and many older adults have low levels.
However, low testosterone can also affect younger people.
When testosterone levels drop, a person may notice a reduction in pleasure from sexual activity. As a result, they may mistakenly believe that their penis is numb.
Low testosterone can lead to numbness, but usually not when it comes to pain, so a person would still feel it if the penis or scrotum were pinched, for example.
Other symptoms of low testosterone can include changes in mood, sex drive, and energy levels.
Problems with the nerves in the area can cause numbness in the penis, testicles, and perineum.
A number of health issues can affect the nerves and result in numbness. An individual may experience this numbness in the lower body and groin area.
Some of these issues include:
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- cancer and its treatment
- vascular disease
Peyronie’s disease is a less common cause of penile numbness.
A buildup of scar tissue, called plaque, within the penis characterizes this disease. The scar tissue can be less sensitive than regular penile tissue, and some people experience desensitization or numbness.
The prostate plays an important role in the reproductive system. It produces the fluid that carries sperm and helps to push out the fluid during ejaculation.
Damage to the prostate, from a tumor, for example, can lead to numbness, tingling, and other changes in the penis.
Also, a person may urinate more frequently than usual or have trouble urinating, among other symptoms.
Male genital dysaesthesia
What is male genital dysaesthesia?
Male genital dysaesthesia describes a sensation of burning, heat, irritation, discomfort or increased sensitivity to touch of the penis, foreskin or scrotum. Some men with genital dysaesthesia also find wearing underpants or sitting down difficult. Symptoms may be very stressful and interrupt sexual function and/or sleep. The affected areas may appear redder than normal.
Genital dysaesthesia does not usually result in itch (the desire to scratch). If itch co-exists with genital dysaesthesia, it may be explained by the development of irritant contact dermatitis due to various applications to the affected area including soap and creams.
Other names for male genital dysaesthesia include:
- The burning scrotum syndrome
- Peno-scroto-dynia (pain of penis and scrotum) or scrotodynia, in which there is no redness.
- The red scrotum syndrome, in which genital dysaesthesia is accompanied by redness.
Both men and women with genital dysaesthesia may experience similar symptoms of burning, irritability or discomfort of their genital region. In women these symptoms are often called vulvodynia, which describes vulval pain in the absence of primary rash.
Which men get genital dysaesthesia?
Most men with genital dysaesthesia are over 60 years of age, fair-skinned and of Caucasian descent (“European”). However, genital dysaesthesia sometimes affects younger or darker-skinned men. They are usually otherwise healthy.
Genital dysaesthesia associated with redness and vascular hyper-reactivity of the scrotum may be associated with rosacea, a common disorder in which facial flushing leads to persistent facial redness.
Findings on examination
In many men with genital dysaesthesia, the affected areas appear entirely normal on careful examination. However, findings sometimes include:
- Red skin, particularly of the scrotum, often with sharp borders
- Broken blood vessels (telangiectasia)
- Extreme tenderness
- Sensation of pain when lightly touched e.g. with cotton swab (hyperaesthesia or hyperalgesia)
What is the cause of genital dysaesthesia?
The cause or causes of genital dysaesthesia are often difficult to pinpoint.
- The sensations are due to overactive nerves in the affected skin.
- Symptoms due to compression of nerve fibres on their pathway from the spinal cord may be similar, for example pudendal nerve entrapment. In this case other symptoms such as urinary symptoms or disorders of sexual function may occur.
- Redness is caused by vascular hyper-reactivity, perhaps due to release of vascular activating substances from the nerve endings in the skin.
- Redness may also arise as a consequence of long-term application of strong corticosteroid creams to genital tissue; on the face, this is called steroid rosacea.
- Genital dysaesthesia may be a similar condition to erythromelalgia, a disorder in which there is burning and redness affecting the feet, or less frequently, the hands.
Chronic genital dysaesthesia is not caused by cancer. But to make sure this is the case, the affected skin, the prostate and the spine should be carefully examined.
Genital dysaesthesia is not due to infection. However, blood tests and skin swabs may be arranged to exclude sexually transmissible diseases (STD), eg genital herpes, which might cause rather similar symptoms.
Factors contributing to genital dysaesthesia may include:
- Genetic tendency
- Back injury or spinal disease
- Over-use of strong topical corticosteroid creams.
Are special tests or investigations needed?
When symptoms and signs are typical, an experienced doctor may make the diagnosis of genital dysaesthesia without requiring special tests. However sometimes the following investigations are arranged.
- Patch tests to exclude allergic contact dermatitis to corticosteroid cream, preservative or other product that may have touched the affected area. Results are usually negative in genital dysaesthesia.
- Imaging of the back and pelvis (eg X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan)
- Examination of the prostate (PSA blood test, digital examination)
How is male genital dysaesthesia treated?
Many men are relieved to have their symptoms explained when given the diagnosis of male genital dysaesthesia.
Many treatments may have already been tried before the correct diagnosis is made. Unfortunately, no treatment works all the time, every time.
General measures for an oversensitive genital area may include:
- Replace soap with non-soap cleanser.
- Wear loose-fitting, cool underwear (e.g. boxer shorts).
- Don’t use antiseptic washes, wipes or deodorants in the genital region (penis, scrotum) or around the anus.
- Apply low-irritancy moisturising cream after showering to the genital region and whole body (e.g. non-ionic cream or sorbolene cream)
- Stop all other creams, especially corticosteroid creams; steroid creams are prescribed for dermatitis/eczema, and they are usually effective for this within a few days. They are ineffective for genital dysaesthesia, and when used for prolonged periods they may make redness and burning sensation worse.
- Cold compresses may be temporarily soothing, such as a face flannel moistened with cool or cold water and placed on the penis and/or scrotum.
Specific prescription treatments reported to be of benefit include:
- 1% Menthol in aqueous cream applied 3 to 4 times daily to cool affected areas. Although sometimes helpful, it can also be difficult to tolerate.
- Pimecrolimus cream may be used 1 to 2 times per day for genital dermatitis. It has been reported to reduce redness and burning in some men with genital dysaesthesia.
- Doxycycline 50 mg tablets once or twice daily for 3 to 6 months to reduce redness; this tetracycline antibiotic is particularly effective if symptoms have been provoked by strong corticosteroid creams but it may also help burning and redness of unknown cause.
- Tricyclic medication at teatime or bedtime, e.g. amitriptyline or nortriptyline 5-30mg, is used to counteract the irritable nerves that cause the burning sensation. Start with a low dose and build up slowly to reduce risks of drowsiness.
Do not take amitriptyline if you are going to drink alcohol, drive a car or operate dangerous machinery. If you are drowsy in the morning, reduce or stop your amitriptyline or try taking amitriptyline earlier in the evening.
Tricyclics may cause dry mouth, dizziness or constipation. Most men tolerate low-dose amitriptyline extremely well, with improvement of their genital dysaesthesia. If it causes daytime drowsiness, stop the medication.
- Anticonvulsant agents such as gabapentin, pregabalin or sodium valproate are medications often used for neuropathic pain syndromes. They can be very effective in male genital dysaesthesia.
- The beta blocker carvedilol has been reported in low dose to result in resolution and long-term remission of the red scrotum syndrome.
Long-term outlook for men with genital dysaesthesia
Male genital dysaesthesia is a frustrating disease to live with, and may be very persistent. It can result in great distress, embarrassment and fear. Many treatments have often been recommended and tried with limited or no success. Yet sometimes, it settles down and completely resolves in time.
Medical science continues to look for better treatments.
3 Possible Testicle Numbness Causes
The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced testicle numbness. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.
Groin nerve irritation
There are several nerves supplying the groin, inner thigh and genital region. Entrapment or irritation of one of these nerves can result in pain or numbness in this area. This is often caused by surgery in this area but can happen without a specific cause as well.
Top Symptoms: thigh numbness, groin numbness, testicle numbness, sharp testicle or scrotum pain, sharp groin pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Testicle Numbness Symptom Checker
Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your testicle numbness
Thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica)
Meralgia paresthetica is a nerve condition that causes an area of skin over the upper outer thigh to feel numb, tingly, or painful. This is caused by compression of a nerve known as the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh as it passes underneath a tough fibrous ligament known as the inguinal ligament.
Top Symptoms: pain in the outside of the hip, pain in one thigh, thigh numbness, tingling upper leg, hip numbness
Symptoms that never occur with thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica): new headache, swollen hip, swollen hips, swelling of one hip, leg swelling, weakness of both legs, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Herniated (slipped) disk in the lower back
The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
What’s That Tingling Sensation in Your Lower Extremities When Looking Down From An Extreme Height?
The line between fear and arousal is sometimes blurry, confusing, and difficult to perceive.
The Situation: You walk to the edge of a 25 story drop and look down.
The Reaction: A tingling sensation in your pelvic region.
The Questions: Why the hell is my junk tingling? Am I getting turned on?
The topic came up over at the Awkward Human Survival Group HQ and it turns out that both males and females have experienced this sensation. While it may affect many of us, there are others who will not have that reaction to heights, or feel the tingling in the same area.
Through research I’ve discovered that this feeling has everything to do with the nervous system. What many are experiencing is a fight or flight response.
Specifically, when we’re presented with a stressful or frightening situation the autonomic nervous system will switch modes. That system governs breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, pupils, arousal and a number of reflexes.
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is comprised of two parts, the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic mode is all about “rest and digest,” while the sympathetic system is the “fight or flight.” When you stare down that endless abyss from the roof of a 45 story building the ANS kicks into “fight or flight.” Here comes the adrenaline!
When you get that adrenaline hit, the sympathetic system is also engaged in transforming you into a lean, mean fighting machine. Your breathing and heart rate quicken. Digestion is put to a stop and the body releases its stores of blood sugars and fats for an energy boost. Blood vessels constrict all around the body, except for those supplying muscles which dilate for added strength.
In case of injury, our immune system drops everything on its to-do list and puts all hands at the ready for blood clotting. As we respond to the life-threatening situation, we may experience hearing loss and our pupils dilate to take in only the scene in front of us. Since our body is focused on protection, perhaps we should get those balls out of harm’s way as well?
Cremaster Muscle/Gray’s Anatomy
The cremaster muscle is responsible for regulating temperature to the testes. Like a fine wine, sperm is to be served at the proper temperature, you know. The muscle will lower the scrotum in an effort to keep a temperature of 95° F.
If a man is in a colder environment, the cremaster moves the sack up to leach some body heat. If we’ve perceived danger, it’s thought that the sympathetic nervous system sends a message to the cremaster to draw the boys closer to the body to protect a man’s future generations.
Like experiencing hearing loss and tunnel vision during “fight or flight,” feeling the cremaster muscle on high alert is not something we’re accustom to and probably why that tingling sensation is so foreign to us. Everything that I’ve read so far on the topic of “fight or flight” has mentioned this below the belt activity, but none of the documents seem to site an expert, or source. I continued to dig around for a couple of days, but I get the impression that the testicles retreating at the first sign of fear is accepted as a fact. It makes sense.
If you’ve ever watched any of those nature programs, other male animals often engage in combat prior to mating to show the ladies that they are worthy mates. Obviously, if a moose is going to pick a fight to impress the females, he will want his junk as close to his body as possible. If he takes an antler to the balls, his mating days are over.
Explaining that tingling sensation for women is not as easy. Ladies do have a cremaster which is located at the point where the uterus and the uterine tubes meet, the round ligament. That ligament is responsible for supporting the uterus. When ladies are facing a steep drop into an abyss, could their bodies be securing the reproductive organs as well?
Complicating the explanation further, there’s a theory that women under stress have a less pronounced “fight or flight” mode. Many scientists now believe that females have a mode called tend and befriend. Dr. Shelley E. Taylor and her team poured through years of research and concluded that women are more likely to nurture offspring and seek out peers in stressful situations. Running away or fighting could possibly mean leaving an infant behind. Like the biological need of the male to protect his junk, the female also seeks to protect future generations. That’s accomplished by caring for the children and reaching out to others to form a stronger alliance.
Now, Taylor’s team doesn’t totally discount “fight or flight” in females. A sudden dangerous event may trigger “fight or flight,” but women begin to produce oxytocin the hormone associated with social bonding and care-giving. Thus, they become more cerebral and are able to look for solutions much quicker.
Meanwhile, Men produce testosterone and cortisol which are steroid hormones preparing them for battle. Therefore, I don’t feel comfortable concluding that the cremaster, or a muscle related to the pelvic floor will tingle if a female looks down at a terrifying drop. Obviously, there are women who have that sensation but I can’t speak to why it happens biologically.
Nevertheless, we can see that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) has a very important role for men and women. It is controlling our breathing, heart rate, digestion, blood vessels, energy levels and immune system, after all. This is what makes stress such a significant issue for our health. Don’t forget that the ANS also controls sexual arousal.
It’s easier to understand how some can associate pain with pleasure when you look at the functions of the the two branches of the ANS. Furthermore, I encourage you to look at this great article on Naomi Wolf’s book, Vagina: A New Biography by Maria Popova of brainpickings.org. In it, Popova talks about the link between mind and body, or vagina.
Put simply, a male dominated society where a woman can’t simply tweet her emotions on the internet without being harassed is probably a stressful environment. So, how could we expect a woman under stress all the time to be sexually aroused? For men, psychological impotence could be caused by an imbalance in the ANS as well. If he’s under constant stress and in “fight or flight” mode, erections are not going to happen.
I apologize that my investigation on that tingling sensation in your bathing suit area when you face scary heights resulted in a dour discussion of the complex realities surrounding sexual arousal. Hey, it’s all crotch centric! Cut me some slack, you’re stressing me out! Too late. My ANS has switched modes, I’m going to run before I end up like these moose.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
A painless lump on the testicle is the most common sign of testicular cancer.
Though relatively rare compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is the most common cancer affecting American men between the ages of 20 and 34, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Testicular cancer tends to have a positive prognosis because it can usually be treated successfully.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of the disease can help ensure you receive early diagnosis and treatment, which improves your chances of survival.
Signs and Symptoms
A painless lump on (or embedded in) a testicle is the most common sign of testicular cancer, according to the ACS.
Other testicular symptoms are also possible, including:
- Pain or discomfort in the testicle, sometimes described as a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A change in how the testicle feels
- A swollen or enlarged testicle (without a defining lump)
- A dull ache in the groin or lower abdomen
- Buildup of fluid in the scrotum
Early-stage testicular cancer may also cause other kinds of symptoms, such as enlarged breast growth (gynecomastia), loss of sexual desire, and abnormally early signs of puberty in boys.
If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it can also cause various additional symptoms, including:
- Lower back pain
- Belly pain
- Headaches and confusion (due to brain involvement)
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the extremities (due to spinal cord involvement)
- Respiratory issues, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough
Regularly conducting testicular self-exams can help you catch physical signs of testicular cancer early.
Some doctors recommend conducting a self-exam once a month after puberty, particularly if you have a risk factor for testicular cancer, according to the ACS.
When conducting the exam, make sure to hold your penis out of the way and check one testicle at a time.
Also keep in mind that it’s normal to have differently sized testicles, testicles that hang at different lengths, and small bumps on the upper or middle outer side of the testicles (these may be a testicular structure called the epididymis).
To conduct the exam, gently roll each testicle between your thumbs and fingers of both hands while you look and feel for:
- Hard lumps
- Smooth, rounded lumps
- Changes in the size, shape, or consistency of the testicles
It’s best to conduct a testicular self-exam when the scrotum is relaxed, such as after a warm bath or shower.
If you feel something abnormal in your testicles, see your doctor right away.
Diagnosis of testicular cancer begins with your doctor asking you about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Your doctor will then conduct a physical exam, looking for swelling and tenderness and noting the size and location of any lumps you may have.
If your doctor finds a hard lump, he or she may hold a flashlight up to your scrotum to see if light doesn’t pass through it (a sign of a tumor). It’s also possible that your doctor will physically examine your groin, abdomen, and other areas of your body to see if the suspected cancer has spread.
Your doctor will then order one or more tests to diagnose testicular cancer, particularly a scrotal ultrasound or a blood test that detects testicular tumor markers (substances linked to the disease), which includes alpha fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin, and lactic dehydrogenase.
In rare cases, doctors conduct a biopsy — cut off and inspect a small piece of testicular tissue — to diagnose testicular cancer, if the results of ultrasound or blood tests are unclear.
Various imaging techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) scans of the abdomen and pelvis, chest X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, may also be used if your doctor suspects the cancer has spread.
Q: I am 11. Why do my testicles feel numb and hurt when I touch them?
A: Before answering your question, we need to know some more information. Has the tenderness been present for only a short time? Is the tenderness associated with any redness or swelling of the scrotal sac? Do you have any pain during urination? Other than the tenderness, do you feel any lumps in your scrotum? Any abnormal discharge from the penis? Do you do a lot of bicycle riding? Has anything been pressing or rubbing on your testicles? Have you fallen and injured your testicles?
If you answered “no” to all of these questions, then more than likely the tenderness you are experiencing is due to normal changes that occur in the testicles during puberty. The testicles are beginning to experience growth and enlarge, which can give the young man a feeling discomfort and tenderness. If you have any concerns, or answered “yes” to any of the question I posed, then it would be best for you to see your doctor, just in case.
To have TeenGrowth’s board of physicians answer your health question, visit the Web site (http://www.teengrowth.com) or e-mail [email protected] TeenGrowth is a non-commercial Internet site that focuses exclusively on the educational health issues of adolescents.