egg-shaped reproductive organs located in the scrotum. Pain in the testicles
can be caused by minor injuries to the area. However, if you’re experiencing
pain in the testicle, you need to have your symptoms evaluated.
Pain in the scrotum can be the result of serious conditions like testicular
torsion or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Ignoring the pain may cause
irreversible damage to the testicles and scrotum.
Often, problems with the testicles cause abdominal or groin pain
before pain in the testicle develops. Unexplained abdominal or groin pain
should also be evaluated by your doctor.
What Are the Common Underlying Causes of Pain in the Testicle?
Trauma or injury to the testicles can cause pain, but pain in the
testicle is often the result of medical issues that will require treatment.
- damage to the nerves of the scrotum
caused by diabetic neuropathy
- epididymitis, or inflammation of the
testicles, caused by the STI chlamydia
- gangrene, or the death of tissues,
as a result of untreated testicular torsion or trauma
- a hydrocele, which is characterized
by swelling of the scrotum
- an inguinal hernia
- kidney stones
- orchitis, or inflammation of the
- a spermatocele, or fluid in the
- an undescended testicle
- a varicocele, or a group of enlarged
veins in the testicle
In some instances, pain in the testicle can be caused by a severe
medical condition known as testicular
torsion. In this condition, the testicle becomes twisted, cutting off
blood supply to the testicle. This can cause damage to the tissue.
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency that must be treated
quickly to prevent damage to the testicles. The condition occurs more
frequently in males between the ages of 10 and 20.
Pain in the testicle is rarely caused by testicular cancer. Testicular cancer typically causes a lump on the testicles that’s often painless. Your doctor should evaluate any lump that forms on your testicles.
When Should You Call Your Doctor?
Call your doctor for an appointment if:
- you feel a lump on your scrotum
- you develop a fever
- your scrotum is red, warm to the touch, or
- you’ve recently been in contact with someone who
has the mumps
You should seek emergency medical attention if your testicular
- is sudden or severe
- occurs along with nausea or vomiting
- is caused by an injury that’s painful or if
swelling occurs after one hour
How Can Pain in the Testicle Be Treated?
Pain that doesn’t require medical care can be treated at home
using the following measures:
- Wear an athletic supporter, or cup,
to support the scrotum.
- Use ice to reduce swelling in the
- Take warm baths.
- Support your testicles while lying
down by placing a rolled towel under your scrotum.
- Use over-the-counter pain
medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain.
With more severe pain, you’ll need to seek treatment from your
doctor. Your doctor will complete a physical exam of your abdomen, groin, and
scrotum to determine what’s causing your pain and will also ask you about your
current health conditions and any other symptoms.
To accurately diagnose your condition your doctor may need to
order additional tests, including:
- an ultrasound, which is a type of imaging test, of
the testicles and scrotal sac
- a urinalysis
- urine cultures
- an examination of secretions from the prostate, which requires a rectal exam
Once your doctor diagnoses the cause of your pain, they’ll be
able to provide treatment. The treatment may include:
- antibiotics to treat an infection
- surgery to untwist the testicle if you have testicular
- a surgical evaluation for potential correction
of an undescended testicle
- pain medications
- surgery to reduce fluid accumulation in the
What Are the Complications of Testicular Pain?
Your doctor can successfully treat most cases of pain in the
testicle. An untreated infection such as chlamydia or a serious condition such
as testicular torsion may result in permanent damage to your testicles and
scrotum. Damage may impact fertility and reproduction. Testicular torsion that
results in gangrene can cause a life-threatening infection that can spread
throughout your body.
How Can You Prevent Pain in the Testicle?
Not all cases of pain in the testicle can be prevented, but there
are some steps you can take to reduce the underlying causes of this pain. These
- wearing an athletic supporter to prevent injury
to the testicles
- practicing safe sex, including using a condom,
- examining your testicles once per month to note
changes or lumps
- emptying your bladder completely when you
urinate to help prevent urinary tract infections
If you practice these steps and still experience testicular pain,
seek medical treatment immediately.