What Are Common Causes of Swollen Testicles?
Testicle pain, discomfort, swelling, and soreness has many causes, some of which are surgical emergencies that require immediate medical attention in order to save the affected testicle.
Trauma to the testes often produces extreme pain. A direct blow to the scrotum, while very painful, usually causes only temporary pain. Most cases of testicular injuries (85%) are caused by blunt trauma (sports injuries, a direct kick or punch, car accidents, or straddle injuries). The injury may result in a bruise or swelling of the scrotal area and testes.
Occasionally, trauma to the testes may cause a more significant injury that may require emergency surgery.
Testicular torsion needs to be treated surgical immediately. This problem occurs when the testicle twists inside the scrotum, either spontaneously or less commonly, because of direct trauma. When the testicle twists, the blood vessels contained within the spermatic cord also twist leading to an interruption of blood flow to the affected testicle. The testes and the scrotal area require oxygen transported by the blood to remain functional and viable, and the twisting may result in the "death" of a testicle.
- Torsion can occur at any age, but it is most common in the first few months of life (newborns) and in boys between the ages of 12-18 years.
- Torsion often occurs in men who have an anomaly affecting the normal attachment of the testicle to the wall of the scrotum (referred to as the bell-clapper deformity). Many of these men have the same abnormality present in both testicles.
Torsion of a Testicular Appendage
The testicular appendage and the epididymal appendage are functionless tissue remaining from human embryonic development. As in testicular torsion, the twisting of these structures can lead to an interruption of blood flow, leading to varying amounts of testicular pain.
Torsion of a testicular appendage is a self-limiting condition and is a common cause of testicular pain in younger boys, in which most cases occur between the ages of 7 and 14 years.
- Epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis) most often is due to an infection. It's the most common cause of testicular pain in men older than 18 years of age, though it can also occur in prepubertal boys and in elderly men.
- In sexually active men, the most common cause of epididymitis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as gonorrhea or Chlamydia.
- Older and younger men also may get epididymitis, often because of an abnormality in the genitourinary system.
- In older men, enlargement of the prostate gland is a common cause.