Feelin’ Blue: What Causes Blue Balls and How to Treat It

Doctors refer to it as “testicular vasocongestion” or “epididymal hypertension”. The rest of the world has a much simpler term: blue balls. The bane of existence for teenage boys everywhere, blue balls are a major pain in the…well, you get the idea.  It’s a condition that is so openly talked about that we now use it to refer to everything from movie trailer releases to business deals that weren’t fully performed. But as much as we make light of this condition, it can bring physical discomfort and even cause undue strain on your relationship. What causes this condition and what can be done to fix it?

What is it?

Blue balls are the result of getting hot and bothered without the “release” of orgasm. The discomfort associated with it has been described as aching, heavy, or even like the feeling of holding in a sneeze, just in your pants. The term itself was coined around 1916 and refers to the slightly bluish color that the scrotum can take on in severe cases.

What causes blue balls?

To understand what causes blue balls, we’ve got to look at what happens to your body when you’re getting busy. Basically, there are four physical phases to the sexual cycle: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. During the excitement phase, blood flow to the genitals increases, which leads to an erection. To learn more about the science behind erections, check out our article here. As things continue to heat up, you enter the plateau state, causing even more blood to flow to the penis and testicles, and blood pressure to increase. During orgasm, your body spikes its production of nonadrenaline, a hormone meant to contract the penile muscle fibers and arteries, reducing the blood flow to the penis. Nonadrenaline also allows for blood to flow back out of the penis, causing it to go soft again during the resolution phase.

Okay, now that the birds and bees are out of the way, it’s time to talk blue balls. If you have been sexually stimulated to the point of either excitement or plateau but circumstances haven’t allowed you to orgasm, there is a large amount of blood trapped in the penis and testicles. The blood pressure in your penis can also be incredibly high, in some cases almost twice as high as the blood pressure in the rest of the body. This can cause the discomfort that we were discussing earlier: a heavy, aching feeling. The excess blood can also cause the bluish tinge that gave blue balls its name.

How do I relieve blue balls?

The obvious answer: orgasm. But we’re betting that if that were possible, you wouldn’t be reading this. Since blue balls is caused by increased blood pressure and a lack of blood flow, the most effective treatments are those that increase blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Here are a few simple treatments that can alleviate blue balls:

  • Exercise: Get in some cardio and get your blood flowing away from your balls.
  • A cold compress: The cold compress mimics norepinephrine (the hormone released after orgasm that relieves blue balls). It constricts the blood vessels, limiting any additional blood flow to the genitals.
  • Lift a heavy object: It may seem bizarre but a new study shows that lifting a heavy object can actually cause something called the Valsalva Maneuver. The Valsalva Maneuver is essentially that feeling in your  lower abdominal muscles when you lift weights, and performing it causes a change in blood pressure, relieving some of the blood pressure in your genitals.
  • Time: We know. Waiting sucks. But blue balls will typically go away in about an hour, without causing any damage to the family jewels.

Of course, no one described blue balls better that the Rolling Stones…

References

Dalzell, Tom. The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.

25 Comments

  1. Summer Tong May 4, 2018 at 3:11 am

    Is that normal if blue balls last for days or even weeks?

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx May 11, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      It shouldn’t. Do you have long lasting ache? Does it get better or worse?

  2. ANDRES WATSON May 2, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I have cycsts on my testicles,I have blue balls and there is nothing that makes be ejaculate anymore. I have been seen by a urologist and had an ultrasound. I was supposed to have a followup but they didn’t make one and it’s now up to me to call them for one.
    On the very rarest of occasion when I ejaculated recently, there’s a shooting pain going up on the right of the area and it’s so painful it’s not worth having ejaculated.
    Apart from seeing the specialist again, what do you recommedy?

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx May 5, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      Unfortunately, this sounds like specialists domain. The best doctor I know for this is down in Florida. The clinic is the PUR clinic and they specialize in testicular pain. Here’s an article that provides an overview of causes of testicular pain and general treatment strategies to help you learn a bit more.

  3. Sarthak April 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    thw lower part of my left tesis paining from nearby 4 year,,when it pains the lestis goes more lower and too much pain even i cant sit or stand,and if i masturbate,the pain goes away ,again if i do not masturbate for a week then it srart paining again,,but only nasturbation giving me relief,i want to die sometime,i checked by 5 or more doctors with ultrasound and etc reports but nothing found and i am tired from my pain now , want to just cut down my testis,somebody plz help me, plzz mail me on sarthak7027@gmail.com

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx April 24, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      It sounds like you have some sort of pressure in your epididymis (which is a long coil on the back of the testicle where sperm are stored). I might recommend that you look into supportive underwear that could help take some of the pressure off. If masturbation / regular ejaculation helps then I don’t see any reason not to do it.

  4. Benjamin April 13, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    My penis is not strong so I can’t perform well in bed what should I do pls

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx April 13, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      What’s the main problem?
      Has it always been this way?
      Do you get morning erections?
      How old are you?

  5. ag March 24, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    when i sit with my girl friend in a park i experienced the same. from the time when i kissed her i feel severe pain in my testicles and it last for 4 hours. is this blue balls. if feel it twice.

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx March 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Yep, that sounds like blue balls.

  6. Mel February 20, 2018 at 12:47 am

    My husbands left testie is swallow to the size of a hockey buck…he has pain and a fever.
    He has went to PCP, hospital and was admitted for 5 days… been home for a month and the swelling has went down some with Cipro medication…
    Advise me please…

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx February 21, 2018 at 5:45 am

      Sounds like he has infection. Cipro should take care of it. Has it continued to go down? If it gets worse, go back to the hospital.

  7. abhay February 15, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Thanks .I’m relieved. ..
    I’m having blue balls while I’m writing this..;)

  8. Abhi January 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Upper part of my left testicle( usually a vein kind swells) is painfull, I masturbate and try to avoid ejaculation. Is it blue ball effect

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx February 1, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      If the pain is only when you are avoiding ejaculation, then it is likely blue balls.
      If the pain is all the time it might be something else, like a varicocele, and you might want to discuss it with a doctor.

  9. Larry Wilson January 15, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Love ❤️ This Studies Thanks So Much …

  10. Tim October 11, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    No such no adrenaline..you must mean noradrenaline

  11. […] were getting hot and heavy but didn’t ejaculate, your ball pain could simply be the result of blue balls. Normally, this pain lasts for about an hour and doesn’t have any long-term effects, so […]

  12. Ricky August 21, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Hi, it starts paining really badly once I get turned on. The pain stays for as long as I masturbate or make out, no matter a day or 2 days. Please give me a solution for this.

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx August 28, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      if pain persists after ejaculation or during erection, you may want to discuss with doctors.

      • Micheal parker May 5, 2018 at 7:28 am

        please I’m having a serious blue balls issue…i heard ejaculation helps but in my case it only helps for like 5-10 mins, then the case starts all over again…pls is there any medication I can use… It hurts really bad

        • Sara SDx
          Sara SDx May 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm

          I think you should visit a doctor, you may have something else going on that is causing testicular pain.

  13. jody-Ann August 10, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Tell him the truth that’ your not into him

  14. Asia Smith March 17, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    How does a man retrain his penis back to normal for performance and length of time between orgasms). His performance was fine until I basically cut all sexual relations and touching loving and squeezing intimacy with him because of a couple things Please, i need your advice. Is it possible that I am just not turned on to him/by him sexually and physically thatmy mind wonders off with other dreams and fantasies ? Thats not fair to him and all he wants is the truth. Please respond back with any wise counsel you can provide. Thank you. Asia

    • Sara SDx
      Sara SDx April 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      I’m not sure what you are asking.

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