The testicles are an important component of the male anatomy -- they store semen until the body requires it, and also keep this bodily fluid at the proper temperature so that it remains healthy. A protective sac, the scrotum, encloses the testicles. Despite this protection, these glands can still face medical problems. Men may experience pain due to physical injury, infection, inflammation and other complications. Medication can treat some conditions, while others may require surgery. Such complications can cause minor problems or can lead to sterilization.
Testicular torsion takes place when the testicle rotates, causing the spermatic cord to twist. Since the spermatic cord is responsible for supplying blood to the scrotum, this restricts blood flow, which causes sudden and severe testicle pain and swelling. Although this condition is most common between the ages of 12 and 18, it can occur at any age. Testicular torsion may require emergency surgery. If treated promptly, doctors can often save the testicle. However, the longer without blood flow to the scrotum, the higher the chances of severe damage. Risk factors for testicular torsion include age, previous incidents, and a family history of testicular tortion.
Enlarged veins within the scrotum are varicoceles; the issue is responsible for low sperm production and decreased sperm quality. Varicoceles can also prevent the testicles from developing the property or cause them to shrink. Although varicoceles usually do not produce any noticeable symptoms, they can cause pain that varies from dull to sharp, increases while standing, worsens throughout the day, and eases when lying down. Not all cases require treatment, but any pain or discomfort in the testicles should prompt a doctor visit.
The epididymis is a small, coiled tube in the upper part of the testicle that collects and transports sperm. Sometimes, an abnormal sac or cyst called a spermatocele develops within the tube. The cyst is usually non-cancerous and holds a milky substance that may contain some sperm. Spermatoceles are common and don't usually require treatment, but they can cause pain if they become enlarged.
Men should see a doctor whenever they experience testicle pain, as it is possible a more serious issue is at play. Although it is rare, pain in the testicles can be a symptom of testicular cancer. Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
Any testicle pain should be reported to a medical professional, and pain that persists for more than two weeks could indicate cancer.
The testicles and scrotum are very sensitive and vulnerable to injury. Anything from getting kicked in the groin to a bicycle or other accident can cause a testicular rupture, which occurs when the scrotum is torn away from the testicles. Any such injuries are damaging and cause extreme pain. A testicular rupture requires immediate medical attention. The pain alone will ensure there is no delay in getting medical treatment. If the trauma is severe, the testicle could be lost.
A hematocele is a scrotal mass -- an abnormal growth in the scrotum. Scrotal masses can contain fluid, abnormal tissue, or normal scrotal contents that have become swollen. A hematocele causes sensitivity, redness, and swelling to the entire scrotal area. Testicle pain may be dull and aching. Since a hematocele can be cancerous, it is imperative to see a doctor promptly.
Orchitis refers to inflammation of one or both testicles. Infections, mumps, or sexually transmitted diseases may cause the condition. Orchitis is a possibility of the following symptoms are present:
A doctor can confirm which infection is causing orchitis. Since the patient likely requires antibiotics, it is best to seek medical help right away to eradicate the infection as quickly as possible.
Kidney stones cause acute pain. Although kidney stones don't originate in the testicles, the pain radiates downward. The stones are compacted masses of urinary crystals. Kidney stones usually don't require treatment. Drinking plenty of water will help them pass, though this process can be painful as the stones make their way through the kidney and into the bladder, until finally exiting through the urethra. Pain medication is the most common treatment for a kidney stone.
When bacteria enters the epididymis, inflammation -- epididymitis -- can occur. The most common causes are gonorrhea and chlamydia. Epididymitis causes testicle pain, as well as a lump on the testicle, bloody urine, fever, painful urination or ejaculation, enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, and discomfort in the lower abdomen. It is necessary to seek medical attention immediately; the doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.
Testicle pain that starts or intensifies when coughing or lifting heavy items could point to an inguinal hernia. A hernia is a piece of fat tissue ends up in a place it shouldn't be. Although an inguinal hernia is not a problem of the testicles, it passes through the testicles and causes testicle pain. A doctor can correct the problem and provide relief from the pain.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.