The testicles sit inside the scrotum. They are very sensitive. Even a minor injury can cause pain or discomfort to the testicles. Sudden, severe testicle pain, however, needs immediate medical care.
If a young man has abdominal pain, the scrotum should always be carefully examined. Abdominal pain may occur before testicle pain in some conditions, including testicular torsion. This is a twisting of the testicles that can cut off the blood supply and cause tissue to die. Testicular torsion is an emergency that needs to be treated within hours.
Common causes of testicle pain include:
Possible infections include:
Fluid in the testicles often causes painless swelling, but may cause mild discomfort. There are several main types of fluid collection:
Pain may also be caused by a hernia or an unrelieved erection.
Some causes of testicle pain, including testicular torsion, can lead to infertility if not treated promptly. Infections also should be examined and treated right away. If the infection is caused by bacteria, your health care provider will prescribe an antibiotic.
For non-urgent causes of testicle pain, such as minor injuries and fluid collection, the following home care steps may reduce discomfort and swelling:
Call your health care provider immediately or go to an emergency room if:
Also call your health care provider right away if:
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination with a focus on the groin, testicles, and abdomen. To help diagnose the cause of the pain, your health care provider will ask medical history questions such as:
The following tests may be performed:
Treatment may include:
Pain - testicle
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Wampler SM, Llanes M. Common scrotal and testicular problems. Prim Care. 2010;37:613-626.
Montgomery JS. Bloom DA. The diagnosis and management of scrotal masses. Med Clin North Am. 2011;95:235-244.
Schneck FX, Bellinger MF. Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 127.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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