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Blue Balls: Should I Be Worried?

Medically reviewed by Kristina Campos, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Jun 20, 2022

    Blue Balls: Should I Be Worried?

    “Blue balls” is a term typically used when an individual with male genitalia is unable to release sexual tension or is experiencing discomfort in their scrotal area. Most, however, don’t know that blue balls are, in fact, a real medical condition known as epididymal hypertension. What are the symptoms of blue balls?

    Although harmless and easily resolved without medical intervention, the aching feeling can be a nuisance to those who experience it. It can be even mistaken for something more serious. 

    Knowing how blue balls occur, their symptoms, and how to treat the condition will make dealing with easier.

    Blue Balls: How Does It Occur? 

    During sexual arousal, blood flows to the penis and testicles via expanded arteries. The blood is retained, leading to an erection as well as slightly larger testicles. Once orgasm is achieved or arousal is decreased, blood will flow back from the genitalia.

    However, for some individuals who remain aroused for long periods of time and do not experience release through ejaculation or a reduction in arousal, they may experience blue balls. With this, the enlarged testicles may put pressure on the tube that sperm passes through to reach the vas deferens for storage until ejaculation, known as the epididymis. This results in discomfort around the testicular area.

    Edging, wherein an individual engages in sexual acts and remains aroused for a prolonged period of time without achieving orgasm, may result in blue balls for some.

    Studies have also found that symptoms of blue balls happen more frequently in teens, but may occur in adulthood as well.

    Symptoms of Blue Balls

    An individual experiencing the symptoms of blue balls will feel a heavy, aching pain in their testicles after being sexually aroused and before reaching orgasm. 

    The pain should not be too serious and persists while the person is aroused and the penis is erect.

    Some may even have a bluish tinge on their scrotum due to the heightened blood pressure in the area. This is where the term blue balls originates from.

    Symptoms of blue balls do not last. Once the individual is able to release sexual tension via ejaculation and the penis is no longer erect, the individual will find relief. 

    Treating Blue Balls

    Reducing the pressure on the epididymis will resolve the symptoms of blue balls. In order to do that, the excess blood in the genitalia from arousal must flow back out. 

    Here are some means of achieving reduced blood pressure:

  • Ejaculating, either via masturbation or sexual intercourse
  • Limiting blood flow to the genitals with a cold shower
  • Reducing arousal by thinking about non-sexual topics
  • Straining to move heavy objects so the pressure is put on other parts of the body
  • Exercising to reduce arousal and normalize blood flow in the body
  • Placing an ice pack on the scrotum so that blood flow in the genital area is reduced.
  • When to Seek Medical Attention

    Symptoms of blue balls typically end after a short period of time, or immediately upon orgasm or reduced arousal. The condition itself is also not dangerous and does not typically call for any serious medical treatment.

    However, if discomfort in the testicles persists even after orgasm or if it evolves into pain different from the initial aching, then medical attention should be sought immediately.

    Some, more serious, conditions that may cause pain in the testicular area like urinary tract infections, epididymitis (which may also be caused by a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea), penile fractures, kidney stones, and even testicular cancer will require assessment and treatment by a health professional.

    Learn more about Urological Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Kristina Campos, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Jun 20, 2022

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