Is this cause for concern?

In most cases, minor bruising isn’t anything to worry about. It’s usually the result of a hard yank on your zipper or bump into a table. Any tenderness and discoloration should start to fade within the week.

If your bruise is the result of a sudden impact, you may also experience sharp pain and swelling. You may even feel nauseous right after the impact. These symptoms usually subside as the bruised area heals.

Read on to learn more about how your testicles can get bruised, what you can do to relieve your symptoms, and when to seek medical attention.

What can bruise a testicle?

A bruise is also known as a contusion. Testicular bruises occur when the arteries and veins in the skin surrounding the testicles are injured and broken open. This causes blood to leak under the skin, resulting in discoloration.

Testicle bruises usually appear after an injury. Common examples include impact to the genital area from falling, getting hit, or even sitting on one of your testicles. Masturbation or rough sex can also lead to bruising.

You may even notice a bruise for what seems like no reason at all. The testicles, also called the testes, hang outside of your body and aren’t protected by much more than a thin layer of skin. The tissues and blood vessels can get hurt easily, like from being jostled around in your scrotum.

Other testicular injuries include:

  • Hematocele. Sometimes, usually after a sudden impact, blood can pool in the tissue around the testicle. This pooling blood can make the testicle look like it’s bruised.
  • Epididymitis. The tubes surrounding the testicles store sperm before releasing it via ejaculation. These tubes can get inflamed after an injury or infection. This can lead to pain, swelling, and bruising.
  • Rupture. If an injury breaks through the layers of tissue around the testicle, it can cause damage to the testicle itself. This may lead the testicle to push through the surrounding tissue. This injury needs immediate treatment.
  • Torsion. The tube that surrounds the blood vessels that run into your scrotum, called the spermatic cord, can get twisted during an injury or simply without warning. This can cut off blood flow to your scrotum, resulting in bruising and discoloration. This injury needs immediate treatment. If left untreated, the affected testicle may need to be removed.
  • Tumor. Abnormal tissue growth around the testicles can also cause bruising and swelling. Although tumors aren’t always a sign of cancer, you should see your doctor for diagnosis as soon as possible.

How to find relief

Bruised or swollen testicles can be uncomfortable enough to keep you from taking part in normal activities.

You can try one or more of the following remedies to help relieve any pain, swelling, or discomfort that may be interfering with your daily life:

  • Lie down and reduce your activity. Try to avoid any physical activities or movements that make the pain or discomfort worse. Lifting your knees up to your chest may also help relieve pain.
  • Make a cold compress. Wrap an ice pack, a bag of frozen veggies, or another cold object in a towel and apply it with light pressure to your testicles. Do this at least four times a day for about 20 minutes until the pain or swelling starts to feel better.
  • Support your scrotum. Wear tighter underwear or use a rolled-up towel to lift your scrotum up against your body. This can help relieve the pressure your testicles may feel from hanging when they’re injured. Do this until your testicles feel less discomfort when you let them hang down again. Wearing a jock strap or other support during the day can also help.
  • Take pain relievers. Use over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you’re concerned that your testicles have been badly injured, see your doctor before taking any pain medications.
  • Take a break. If your testicles were injured while playing sports or doing any other strenuous physical activity, take a few days off to let them heal. Reducing stress and strain placed on the testicles and scrotum promotes faster healing.

When to see your doctor

If you know what bruised your testicle and you aren’t experiencing other symptoms, you can wait to see your doctor.

You should see your doctor right away if you:

  • are unable to locate both testicles in the scrotum
  • have tears or bleeding in the scrotum
  • have blood or discharge in your urine
  • have difficulty urinating
  • have a fever of 101°F (38°C) or higher
  • feel the need to urinate frequently but aren’t producing much urine

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you aren’t seeing improvement after a week, or if your symptoms begin to worsen at any time. This may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

You may also want to see your doctor if you aren’t sure of what caused your bruise. In some cases, bruising that appears without warning can be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia.

Other STI symptoms include:

  • testicle pain or swelling
  • burning when you urinate
  • clear or cloudy discharge from your penis

Once your doctor makes a diagnosis, they can advise you on any next steps.

What’s the outlook?

Symptoms of a mild testicle injury shouldn’t last more than a few days. You may find sexual activity uncomfortable during this time. But there usually aren’t any long-term effects on your sexual performance, fertility, or sensation.

Torsion, ruptures, and other major trauma to your testicles can result in long-term damage if treatment isn’t received in time or if the testicle is severely injured.

If you’re unsure about the depth of your injuries, see your doctor to be safe. With severe injuries, early treatment is the only way to reduce your risk for complications.