Symptoms and Signs of Testicular Torsion vs. Infection

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Medically Reviewed on 6/3/2019

Doctor's Notes on Testicular Torsion vs. Infection

Testicular torsion is a condition where twisting of the spermatic cord results in a loss of blood flow to the testicle. It is a surgical emergency because blood flow loss can quickly destroy the testicle. Testicular infection is inflammation of one or both testicles and other structures mainly due to infection by bacteria or viruses. The most common symptom of testicular torsion is very severe pain in one testicle that may occur rapidly. This does not occur in testicular infections. Signs and symptoms of testicular infection may include testicular swelling, redness, tenderness, and pain. Both conditions may have symptoms of abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain when urinating.

The cause of most testicular torsions is an anatomic abnormality termed bell clapper deformity that allows the spermatic cord to easily twist either spontaneously or induced to twist during trauma. In contrast, a wide variety of viruses and bacteria cause testicular infections.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.