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Testicular Pain, Discomfort, and Swelling Symptoms, Causes, and Medical Treatments

Facts and Definition of Testicular Pain and Swelling

  • Testicular pain is a discomfort felt in the testicles (testes) or scrotum.
  • Causes of testicular pain, discomfort or swelling may be very serious and require prompt medical treatment, like testicular torsion, which is a medical emergency. that requires surgery.
  • Causes of the pain can range from common to rare, for example:
  • Symptoms associated with the pain include:
    • Testicle tenderness
    • Swelling
    • Redness
  • You may have other signs like:
  • A doctor or other medical professional can diagnose the cause of yours or a child's testicular pain with tests and a physical exam.
  • Treatment of depends on the underlying cause, and may include pain medication, antibiotics or surgery.
  • Certain causes of testicular pain, discomfort or swelling can be prevented. A testicular self-exam may help detect testicular cancer at an earlier stage.
  • The prognosis depends entirely on the underlying cause. Certain causes of testicular pain carry an excellent prognosis, while others may lead to infertility, or even death.

How Do the Testicles Develop, and What's Their Purpose?

Anatomy and Development of the Testicles

Men become very concerned and anxious when they feel pain in their testicles. To better understand the various causes of this symptom, an understanding of basic anatomy and the development of the testicles is necessary.

  • Before birth, the testicles are located in the abdomen (belly). Eventually, the testicles migrate down through the abdomen into the scrotum (the outside pouch that contains the testicles). However, they remain connected to the abdomen by the spermatic cord, which contains vital blood vessels, nerves, lymphatic vessels, and the vas deferens. The spermatic cord also functions to suspend the testicles within the scrotum.
  • On the upper, outer, back position of the testicle lies a connected but separate structure called the epididymis, which serves to store and transport sperm. Normally, the epididymis has a direct connection to the wall of the scrotum.

Picture of the Male Urinary and Reproductive Structures
Picture of the Male Urinary and Reproductive Structures

How Bad Can the Pain Get? What Other Signs and Symptoms Accompany the Pain?

If you have testicular or scrotal pain, the doctor or other health care professional's first goal is to determine whether or not the pain is caused by testicular torsion, because this is a surgical emergency requiring prompt medical attention. Though the following information may be used to help differentiate the symptoms of testicular torsion and epididymitis, any male with testicular pain should not delay and see a doctor or other health care professional right away because trying to distinguishing between the two conditions often can be difficult.

  • Pain from testicular torsion usually comes on suddenly.
  • Pain from a viral or bacterial infection of the testes or scrotal area (epididymitis) usually begins gradually. Early on, the pain due to the infection frequently is localized to the area of the infection itself.
  • With testicular pain from any source, you or your male child may have any of the these symptoms:
    • Swelling, tenderness, or redness of the testicles and scrotum
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fever
    • Painful urination or penile discharge
    • Pain with sexual intercourse
    • Pain with ejaculation
    • Blood in the urine
    • Blood in the semen
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis)

Orchitis Symptoms

The symptoms associated with orchitis may range from mild to severe, and the inflammation may involve one or both testicles. Patients may experience the rapid onset of pain and swelling, or the symptoms may appear more gradually. Symptoms of orchitis may include the following:

  • Testicular swelling
  • Testicular redness
  • Testicular pain and tenderness

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Testicular Trauma »

Despite the vulnerable position of the testicles, testicular trauma is relatively uncommon.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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