Men's Health

Blue Balls: What You Need to Know About Epididymal Hypertension

Fact Checked

What are blue balls and what can you do about them? Read on to discover who is at risk and how to relieve discomfort.

Last Updated: 05/31/2023

Written by

Warren Dutton

Medically Reviewed by

Stephanie Wolff

You probably have heard your friends commenting on how this one time they had blue balls after seeing this hot girl, right? Or even you yourself commented on having this problem. 

Whether you have faced it or heard of it, blue balls are a frequent occurrence amongst men, especially those that are sexually active. This phenomenon is common with teenage boys and young adults who are in the process of developing into mature males. 

What Are Blue Balls?

Blue balls are a slang term for epididymal hypertension. To better understand what blue balls are, an understanding of how ejaculation occurs is necessary. 

During sexual arousal, increased blood flows into a man’s penis through the penile veins, causing the relaxed corpora cavernosa muscles in the member to expand. The vessels that carry blood from the penis constrict, keeping blood in your member and causing a standing erection to be maintained.

When you are having sex, the continued stimulation causes sexual excitement, which travels up the spine to the nervous system. At this point, the vas deferens, a tube that stores sperm and carries it out of the testes, contracts. This contraction squeezes the sperm to the penis base, causing the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles to secrete fluids to form semen, the stage where ejaculation is now imminent.

The penile muscles at the base of the penis contract every 0.8 seconds, forcing semen to spurt out. A full ejaculation is said to have occurred when this process is complete.

If by any chance this process is stopped midway, i.e., before the seminal fluid is produced or before the vas deferens contracts, then the result is an incomplete process and sex for an extended period of time without an orgasm. This causes the blood already pumped into the penis to stick around, and your testicles may turn blue due to the trapped oxygenated blood combined with restricted outward flow. The same discoloration may occur at the base of the penis, too.

Debunking the Myths Around Blue Balls

Over the years, many theories have been in circulation on what causes this problem, the remedies, etc. However, many lack scientific backing thereby and cannot be taken to be medically correct. They have just been around for a long time, and people take them as truths! Today, you get to select the rice from husks by knowing all these rumored facts.

#1. Blue balls are dangerous and can cause permanent harm

As per its definition, epididymal hypertension is caused by unfinished ejaculations. Therefore they cannot be dangerous and pose no health risk to you. 

Blue balls are simply blood flow constrictions in the testicles that can cause mild discomfort at most. However, if you are experiencing painful symptoms in your nether regions, it may be wise to consult a physician to get a diagnosis. 

Some ailments can cause pain in the loins, and therefore, only a doctor can elaborate the difference. Blue balls' effect subsides with the return of normal blood flow in the body, only lasting a short duration.

#2. You have blue testicles when suffering blue balls

While your testicles may faintly show a blue hue, it is an exaggeration to put that as a blue discoloration. Mainly the color alteration appears because of the blood being constricted in the penis for a long time. The blood in the penis releases and is released into the body, returning your member and testicles to their original color.

If the color is a more obvious blue or purple or lasts for an extended period beyond an hour or two, it could be a sign of a more serious condition such as  testicular torsion, which is a medical emergency and you should seek immediate medical help. Testicular torsion, a condition where the testicle becomes twisted, blocking circulation and causing pain and swelling, usually requires emergency surgery.

#3. Blue balls are for men only

While testicles, which are closely associated with the name balls, naturally happen in males, that doesn't translate to a blue ball predicament only in men. Women have a similar occurrence known as blue vulva. This condition occurs when extra blood remains in the vagina and cervical walls, labia, and clitoris, causing increased redness or darkish coloring, especially when they don't complete their orgasm. The condition is known as vasocongestion or pelvic congestion.

What Are the Signs That You Have Blue Balls?

The common cause is failed or delayed ejaculation in both men and women. But how can you know when you have this problem? Some of the symptoms include:

  • Heaviness, aching, discomfort

  • Mild testicular pain and discomfort

  • Pain and discomfort at the base of your penis

  • Faint bluing of the testicles in men and the vulva discoloration in women.

These are just the common signs of reduced circulation in the genital area, and the pain and aches are from the extended expansion of the penile muscles without relaxation. 

Other signs should, however, be taken more seriously e.g., epididymitis (when the epididymis swells), urinary tract infection, and severe pain. These need a medical diagnosis to avoid serious infections.

Blue Balls Treatment:

Any activity that may cause the excess blood buildup in the testicles can relieve blue balls. Remember, blue testicles caused by sexual activity or arousal are not dangerous. It does not  pose any harmful effects normally. Therefore you should not be worried if you experience it. There’s a simple solution for this problem: have an orgasm and ejaculate. 

In addition to ejaculation, there exist remedies that are effective in relieving your blue testicles.

  • Ejaculation As this condition results from sexual stimulation without completion, you can always complete the process by ejaculation. You can achieve this by having sex with your consenting partner or by bringing yourself to completion through masturbation. Masturbation is a quick fix, especially at home or when your partner is not accessible.

  • Cold showers Taking a cold shower reduces sexual arousal by decreasing circulation into your male genitals, as the body directs the blood to other priority functions like restoring your body temperature to normal. The cold water may also reduce swelling; apply the treatment to the testicles for a more abrupt and spontaneous effect.

  • Distractions Sexual encounters are as much physical as they are psychological. Taking your mind off sexual thoughts by participating in a non-arousing activity bypasses the brain response to initiate the process of ejaculation. This causes your body to relax and restores normal circulation.

  • Exercising Light exercises, such as going for a walk or jogging, a light cardio session, or a few push-ups, until you are no longer aroused may play a huge role in making your erection subside. Your muscles require circulation, and the more active you are, the more your body prioritizes that task at hand more than the need to ejaculate.

  • Laying on the ground to restore the blood flow to normal and out of the genitals.

  • Heavy lifting Like exercising, heavy lifting means using more muscular power, which translates to the body prioritizing the need for more power to list than erections. Also, the exercises act as distractions that help in combating the psychological effects of epididymal hypertension.

  • Warm massage to the afflicted area reduces inflammation and reduces the muscular tensions at the base of the penis.

  • Over the counter (OTC) medication Drugs such as painkillers and anti-inflammatories may help reduce the pain caused by blue testicles and testicular torsion. Caution should be when using these medicines to reduce the dependency on OTC drugs. Seek medical care first from a professional doctor or a specialist urologist.

Although there’s no medical consensus on this condition, blue balls are real. They occur as a result of blood constriction in the penis after a sexual encounter/arousal. 

Ejaculation is the best remedy to combat this condition. It causes the blood to return to normal flow after orgasm. This phenomenon is known as blue vulva in women or vasocongestion. You can rectify epididymal hypertension through other means apart from ejaculation.

Take cold showers, engage in heavy lifting and exercises, and distract yourself from sexual thoughts. Over-the-counter drugs, i.e., painkillers, anti-inflammatories, etc., can help manage the associated pain. Consult a medical doctor if you experience prolonged blue testicles or when the remedies here are not working. It may turn out to be another ailment than blue balls.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are blue balls?

When you are sexually aroused and have not ejaculated or reached orgasm after prolonged arousal, the constriction in the groin area  makes the scrotum turn darkish. This may also cause mild testicular pain or discomfort.

Do testicles turn the color blue?

Not exactly. As the phrase may suggest, your testicles may turn a faint blue tint, but not entirely blue. This shade is possible by constricted blood vessels in your genitals.

How long do blue balls last?

Blue balls, when not attended, typically disappear within a short time, usually a maximum of an hour.

How can one treat blue balls?

This condition is treatable even at home alone. Some of the symptoms are a pain in the groin, a faint bluish tint in the scrotum, and painful testicles. The most efficient remedy is ejaculation; you can achieve this either through sex with your consensual partner or masturbation. You should note the blue ball's effect goes away after ejaculation.