Read about all the possible causes and symptoms of testicular pain. Also, learn about home remedies and treatment options.
Testes or testicles are male reproductive glands which produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. Males have two testicles within the scrotum, which is the extension of the abdominal wall. The testes are covered by a membrane called tunica albuginea, and the insides are made of fine tubes called seminiferous tubules. These tubules are lined with sperm cells, and the developing sperm travels through these tubules to the efferent ducts. These sperm cells mature in the epididymis.
The testicles are very sensitive, so any minor injury can cause pain or discomfort. The pain can be acute, chronic, dull, sharp, or just a sensation of soreness and discomfort. There are also many health conditions that can cause this. Usually, problems in the testicles first cause abdominal pain or pain in the groin before testicular pain. It is never a good idea to ignore the pain in the scrotum, as it might be due to some serious underlying condition, which can cause irreversible damage to the testicles and scrotum.
The common conditions that cause testicular pain are:
Epididymitis - Inflammation of the epididymis, which is the coiled tubes at the back of the testicles that stores sperm. It makes the scrotum red and swollen and causes one-sided testicular pain that worsens gradually. The other symptoms seen are pain on urination, blood in semen, and pain in the lower abdominal and pelvic region. It is most commonly caused due to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Testicular Torsion - It is a medical emergency which occurs when the testicles rotate, causing the spermatic cord (brings blood to the scrotum) to twist. This cuts off the blood supply to the testicles and causes sudden pain and swelling.
Trauma - Any injury during a fight or an accident or sports can cause testicular pain. Any blunt injury can cause bruising and swelling of the testicle.
Inguinal Hernias - It is a condition where the intestines protrude through the groin area and slide into the scrotum. It causes swelling and testicular discomfort.
Epididymal Hypertension - Or known as blue balls, which causes pain and aching in the testicles due to a prolonged erection without an orgasm. It is not a serious condition.
Orchitis - Inflammation of the testicles is called orchitis. It can be caused by either bacteria or virus and is commonly associated with mumps and STDs. It causes tenderness in the scrotum, painful urination, swollen scrotum, and enlarged prostate.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - UTI in men causes painful urination, pain in the lower abdomen and near the groin, frequent urination, and blood in urine.
Spermatocele - Also called a spermatic or epididymal cyst, which is a benign cyst that occurs close to the testicle. It cannot be seen visually but can be felt. It does not cause any symptom early on, but as the cyst grows, it causes pain and discomfort.
Varicocele - It is the enlargement of the veins within the scrotum. It causes sharp to dull pain in the scrotum which gets worse with standing and physical exertion. And the pain is relieved on lying on your back.
Hydrocele - It is a swelling caused due to the collection of fluid in the scrotum. It results from injury or inflammation within the scrotum.
Prostatitis - Inflammation of the prostate. The types are chronic prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis. The prostate becomes tender, swollen, and inflamed.
Post-vasectomy - After vasectomy (male sterilization surgery), a person can experience congestive epididymitis or sperm granuloma. Both of these conditions cause pain and discomfort.
Kidney Stones - Stones in the kidneys may cause referred pain in the scrotum.
Undescended Testicles - It is when one or both the testicles fail to drop into the normal place in the scrotum. Rarely, an undescended testicle might get twisted and stop the blood supply, causing pain.
Testicular Cancer - Usually, testicular cancer does not cause any pain. But in cases where cancer grows rapidly, it may cut off the blood flow to the testicle or might bleed, causing pain and tenderness.
Fournier’s Gangrene - It is rare, but a severe bacterial infection, which starts on the abdominal wall and spreads to the scrotum and penis causing the death of tissue (gangrene). It causes testicular pain and tenderness.
Diabetic Neuropathy - It causes damage to the nerves of the scrotum.
The symptoms that you might experience are:
Tenderness of the testicles.
Blood in urine.
Blood in semen.
Nausea and vomiting.
Pain on ejaculation.
Pain during urination.
If you have pain in your testicles, your doctor will perform a physical examination of the abdomen, groin, penis, testicles, and scrotum. This is to check for any swelling, tenderness, skin changes, and masses in these regions. He or she will also ask for the complete history to try to find the cause of the pain. If needed, you might have to undergo some or all of the following tests:
Urethral swab (for sexually transmitted diseases).
Ultrasound scan of the abdomen, pelvis, and scrotum.
Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor might suggest various treatment options. The treatment might include:
If there is an infection, antibiotics are given.
Surgery to untwist testicle (testicle torsion) or to correct undescended testicle or to reduce the fluid accumulation or to remove infected and dying tissue (gangrene) or to remove cancer.
Nerve block and cord denervation.
Avoid lifting heavy objects and doing strenuous exercises, as it might aggravate your pain.
Apply ice to reduce swelling and redness.
Applying heat with the help of a heating pad or a hot bath can soothe sore muscles.
Over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen might give temporary relief from the pain.
Wearing tight-fitting underwear helps limit movement and pain.
Stretching and strengthening exercises might ease spasms.
Avoid having unprotected sexual intercourse. Use condoms and practice safe sex to prevent STDs.
To prevent injuries, wear athletic supporters.
Self-examine your testicles to look for any lump or changes every month.
Empty your bladder completely to prevent UTI.
Testicular pain should be considered a medical emergency, and the exact cause should be found out. Whenever you experience pain, consult a doctor immediately as it can be something serious and if left untreated, might cause permanent testicular damage.
Testicular pain does not go on its own. You might need to observe whether the pain is subsiding day by day or not. If the pain is intermittent, then there are chances of the condition to be very mild. In such cases, treatment might not be required. Drugs like antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents might be needed to get relief from pain.
The pain in the left testicle can be due to a lot of underlying health issues. Some conditions might trigger the symptoms of testicular pain on the left side of the testicle alone. It is essential to know that your left testicle will be having a small difference from your right testicle. It is medically proven that your left testicle is prone to more number of conditions such as testicular torsion and varicoceles. In conditions such as orchitis, the pain might start from the left testicle and proceed to the right testicle. Any pathological condition in the scrotum can also cause pain in the left testicle. It is necessary to identify the exact cause of the pain. If pain occurs due to any trauma, it is necessary to check with the doctor as soon as possible.
If a person feels pain or swelling in either one or both the testicles, it is recommended to consult a doctor or health advisor. If the pain is causing vomiting and nausea, then immediate medical attention is required. For most cases of testicular pain, medical treatments are available.
A prolonged dull ache might be a sign of testicular cancer. A heavy feeling in the scrotum might accompany it. A dull ache can also be due to enlargement or lump formation in the testicles. If you are experiencing ache in the testicles for more than three days, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately.
Chronic conditions of epididymitis can cause symptoms such as pain in the groin, thigh region, and lower back. This is due to the radiating pain that has occurred as a result of long-standing epididymitis. The spreading of infection can cause pain to the leg and other parts of the body.
With treatment, testicle pain may improve within one or three days. Based on the cause of your testicle pain, the condition might take up to four weeks to heal this pain. It is recommended to take rest by limiting the routine activity until the pain decreases.
The pinched nerve's condition occurs when a nerve gets too much compressed by surrounding muscles, tendons, bones, and cartilage. This causes weakness of the nerves. Any damage or weakness in the testicular region might cause testicular pain.
Some medications, such as Acetaminophen, are available over the counter. Even drugs like Ibuprofen can be purchased without prescription to reveal testicular pain. A high-level dosage of painkillers should be given under the recommendation of the doctor.
Some patients report a small swelling after the completion of hernia surgery. There might be twitches or pulling of the muscles when the patient tries to move. This might cause some bruises in the scrotum region. This is mostly harmless and does not require specific treatment. The patient must wear comfortable clothing to ease the pain.
It is better to consult a urologist if the patient is experiencing mild testicular pain lasting for a few days or feels a swelling or lump in or around the testicle. Consulting a primary care doctor is sufficient if the patient is experiencing abdominal pain. In this case, the doctor might refer to have an ultrasound or a CT scan.
Home remedies include giving a warm bath to the testicles. In case there is swelling in the scrotum, ice can be applied in circular motions along with the gentle massage. This will help to minimize the swelling in the testicles. An athletic supporter or guard can be placed in the scrotum to prevent further injury.
The pain in the testicle is felt deep inside the scrotum. Most of the testicular pain occurs in the acute condition. For the pain to go away, the patients might require the help of a few medications such as anti-inflammatory agents or antibiotics.
Below are certain methods to be followed to reduce the testicular pain fastly. They are:
- Take warm baths.
- Apply ice gently to reduce swelling in the scrotum.
- While lying down, support the testicles by placing a rolled towel under the scrotum.
- Use counter pain medicines like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to relieve pain.
To ease the discomfort, follow the below methods to get relief from testicular pain:
- It is necessary to avoid sexual intercourse until the infection gets subsided.
- Lie down so that the scrotum is elevated.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Rest in bed.
- Wear an athletic supporter.
- Apply cold packs to the scrotum as tolerated.
In some patients, the cells of testicular cancer can spread to the abdomen or the adjacent lymph glands. This might cause dull pain in the lower part of the abdomen. This pain is not very severe. If you experience unbearable pain, you should contact the doctor immediately.
In the case of testicular torsion, the patient will experience sudden pain in one of the testicles along with the scrotum. After some time, the pain usually subsides on its own. A certain degree of comfort will be achieved in a short while. If you experience pain for a longer duration, you should seek help from your doctor.
During ejaculation, there will be a mild contraction of the ducts that carry the sperm. The pain is present in the ductile part and not on the testicle. So, after ejaculation, it is common to experience a certain degree of pain. This might prolong while walking.
Testicular torsion and orchitis is the main reason for testicles that become swell on the right side. Infections, pathological abnormalities, and the hernia can also cause pain in the right testicle. If trauma is causing you the pain, wait for one hour for the pain to stop. If the pain continues, then consult a doctor immediately.
Last reviewed at:
31 May 2022 - 5 min read
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