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What causes swelling of scrotum? 10 possible conditions

Scrotal Swelling

Scrotal swelling is an enlargement of the scrotal sac. The scrotal sac (scrotum) houses the testicles. Scrotal swelling can occur due to injury or an underlying medical condition. It may be caused by an accumulation of fluid, inflammation, or an abnormal growth within the scrotum.

The swelling may be painless or very painful. Painful swelling is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment. In severe cases and depending on the cause, not receiving timely treatment can result in the loss of your testicles due to the death of tissue.

What Causes Scrotal Swelling?

Scrotum swelling can happen rapidly or slowly over time. One of the main causes of painful scrotal swelling is testicular torsion. This is an injury or event causes a testicle in the scrotal sac to twist, which cuts off blood circulation. This very painful injury can cause tissue death to the scrotum in a matter of hours.

Medical conditions and diseases can also cause the scrotum to swell. These conditions include:

  • testicular cancer
  • varicocele (abnormally enlarged veins in the scrotum)
  • orchitis (acute inflammation of the testes)
  • hydrocele (swelling due to increased fluid)
  • hernia
  • epididymitis (inflammation or infection in the epididymis, at the back of the testicle)
  • congestive heart failure

Other symptoms related to these conditions may be present before scrotal swelling.

Signs of Scrotum Swelling

In addition to a visible enlargement of the scrotal sac, you may have additional symptoms. The symptoms you experience will depend on the cause of the swelling.

Common symptoms that may be experienced alongside scrotal swelling include a lump in the testicle and pain in the testicles or scrotum.

Contact your doctor if you notice either of these symptoms.

Identifying the Cause

Mention to your doctor any symptoms you are experiencing with the scrotal swelling. Let him know if your scrotum is painful or contains a lump. After gathering this information, your doctor will perform a physical examination. This includes a physical inspection of the scrotum. At this point, he or she will ask when you noticed the swelling and what activities you were doing before the swelling.

If necessary, the doctor may perform a scrotal ultrasound to view the inside of the scrotum. This imaging test will let him or her see if there are any abnormalities within the scrotal sac.

Treatment Options for Scrotal Swelling

Treatment options for scrotal swelling depend on the cause. If an infection caused the swelling, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. If this is not enough to relieve inflammation, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication as well.

Appropriate medications will be prescribed to relieve symptoms and swelling associated with other diseases. However, surgery may be necessary to correct the condition if the underlying cause is varicocele, hernia, or hydrococele.

Testicular cancer has several treatment options. The options offered to you depend on the severity of the cancer, whether it as spread, and how long it went undetected. Treatment options normally consist of:

  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • surgery (used to remove cancerous tissue and cancerous tumors from the scrotal sac)

Home Treatment

In addition to receiving care from your doctor, he or she may suggest at-home treatment options, including:

  • using ice on the scrotum to relieve swelling: this method of treatment is normally used in the first 24 hours of noticing the swelling
  • taking an over-the-counter pain reliever: notify your doctor immediately if the pain is severe
  • wearing athletic support
  • using a sitz bath (shallow bath) to reduce swelling
  • avoiding strenuous activities

What Is the Outlook?

The outlook for scrotal swelling varies depending on the severity of the swelling and the cause. Swelling due to injury will generally pass with time, while other causes require extensive treatment. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, outlook is generally good. Speak to your doctor about your specific condition, as outlook can vary from person to person.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.



A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Hernias are most common in the abdomen but can appear elsewhere.

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A hydrocele is a sac filled with fluid that forms around a testicle. They're usually painless and are most common in babies, but they affect males of any age.

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Torsion of Testes

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Torsion of the testes (testicular torsion) occurs when the spermatic cord becomes twisted, causing a restriction in blood flow to the testes, severe pain and possibly permanent damage. It is a medical emergency.

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Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis, the tube located at the back of the testicles that stores and carries sperm. It's usually caused by a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection.

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Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia occurs in the groin area when fatty or intestinal tissues push through the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is located at the base of the abdomen.

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Orchitis is the inflammation of the testicles. It can be caused by either bacterial or viral infection such as the mumps or certain STIs. Symptoms are often restricted to just one testicle in most men.

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Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.

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A vein abnormality in the scrotum can cause a varicocele. This can lead to decreased sperm production and quality, and it can shrink your testicles.

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Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is cancer that originates in one or both testicles (testes), the male reproductive glands located inside the scrotum responsible for producing sperm and the testosterone hormone.

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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition that affects the chambers of your heart. CHF refers to fluid buildup around your heart.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.