Your scrotum is a thick sac of skin that surrounds and contains reproductive organs, including your testicles. Your scrotum has the important job of protecting your testicles. It also has to maintain a slightly lower temperature than the rest of your body to help with sperm production. Various health conditions can affect your scrotum, so it’s important to keep it healthy.


Your scrotum is an external part of the male reproductive system that surrounds and protects your testicles
Your scrotum is an external part of the male reproductive system located below your penis. It’s a thick sac (pouch) of skin that surrounds and protects your testicles.

What is the scrotum?

Your scrotum is an external part of the male reproductive system located below your penis. It’s a thick sac (pouch) of skin that surrounds and contains reproductive organs, including your testes (testicles). Your testicles are two oval-shaped glands that produce and store sperm. They also produce and release (secrete) hormones, including testosterone.

Your scrotum hangs outside of your body near your upper thighs. It’s located outside your body because it needs to maintain a slightly lower temperature than your average body temperature. The lower temperature helps regulate sperm production.

Your scrotum comes from labioscrotal swelling. This is an embryonic structure that appears during the fourth week of embryonic development.


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What is the function of the scrotum?

Your scrotum is responsible for surrounding and protecting your testicles. The scrotal tissues help protect your testicles, other glands and blood vessels. Your scrotum also acts as a sort of “climate control” system for your testicles. It keeps your testicles a few degrees below your average body temperature to help with sperm production.


What are the parts of the scrotum?

Your scrotum is divided into two parts by a crease called the perineal raphe. This crease looks like a line down the center of your scrotum. The perineal raphe joins your internal septum with your scrotum. The scrotal septum divides the scrotal sac into two parts. Each side of your scrotum contains the following:

  • Testicle: Your testicles produce and release (secrete) hormones like testosterone. They also contain tiny tubes and cells called spermatozoa that produce sperm. Sperm move from your testicles to your epididymis.
  • Epididymis: Your epididymides (plural of epididymis) are located at the top of each testicle. Each is a tightly coiled tube that stores sperm until they’re mature. Your epididymides also absorb excess fluid released by your testicles to help move the sperm through your reproductive tract.
  • Spermatic cord: Your spermatic cords contain lymph vessels, nerves and blood vessels. They also contain a tube called the vas deferens that moves sperm out of your epididymis into your ejaculatory ducts. Your vas deferens is surrounded by your spermatic cord and transports mature sperm to the urethra before you ejaculate.
  • Cremaster muscle: Your cremaster muscles surround your testicles and spermatic cords. This muscle helps move your testicles away from and toward your body to maintain the ideal temperature for producing sperm.

The scrotal wall surrounds all these structures. A smooth muscle called the dartos fascia lines the scrotal wall. This muscle helps tighten and expand the skin of your scrotum as it moves up and down.

How big is the scrotum?

The average thickness of the scrotum is about 8 mm (millimeters).

What is the scrotum made of?

Your scrotum is a smooth sac made of skin and muscle. It has a parietal layer and a visceral layer. The parietal layer covers the inner part of the scrotal wall. The visceral layer coats your testicles and epididymis.


Conditions and Disorders

What are the common conditions and disorders that can affect your scrotum?

Many health conditions can affect your scrotum, including:

  • Inguinal hernia: An inguinal hernia can happen when abdominal tissues push through an opening in your abdominal wall into your scrotum.
  • Hydrocele: A hydrocele occurs when fluid fills up in your scrotum, causing swelling. This condition is more common in babies, but it can also happen in adults.
  • Varicocele: A varicocele is an enlarged vein or a swollen collection of veins in your scrotum.
  • Spermatocele: A spermatocele occurs when a fluid-filled sac or growth forms on your epididymis.
  • Testicular torsion: Testicular torsion happens when your testicle rotates in your scrotum. This cuts off the blood supply, nerve function and sperm transport to your testicle.
  • Epididymitis: Epididymitis is inflammation of your epididymis, the tube at the back of your testicle that carries sperm.
  • Orchitis: Orchitis is the swelling or inflammation of your testicles. It’s typically related to a mumps infection.
  • Testicular cancer: Testicular cancer forms when cancerous cells develop in the tissues of one or both testicles.

What are the common signs or symptoms of scrotum conditions?

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your scrotum or the area surrounding it, contact your healthcare provider:

  • Mild or severe pain, especially that comes on suddenly or lasts a long time.
  • Swelling, tenderness and redness.
  • Rashes or sores.
  • Feeling of heaviness.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Blood in your pee or semen.
  • Drainage or discharge from your penis.

What are the common treatments for scrotum conditions?

Treatment for scrotum conditions will vary. Some conditions, like hydroceles, don’t require treatment unless they’re painful or large. Other conditions, like inguinal hernias, will typically require surgery to repair the issue and prevent tissue death.

Treatment for a testicular torsion may require immediate surgery to fix the problem permanently. Treatment for epididymitis may require an antibiotic or an antiviral medication. Talk to your healthcare provider about your specific condition and necessary treatment.



How can I keep my scrotum healthy?

You can keep your scrotum healthy by following these tips:

  • Perform a monthly testicular self-exam: Roll each of your testicles around in your scrotum, checking for lumps and tenderness or swelling.
  • Shower regularly: Take a shower frequently and wash your entire genital area. Bathing regularly reduces your risk of skin infections that can cause other complications.
  • Keep your genital area dry: Dry your penis and scrotal area thoroughly after bathing. Trapped moisture can become a breeding ground for fungi.
  • Avoid tight clothing: Wear comfortable, loose underwear and pants. Let your scrotum hang naturally from your body to help keep your scrotal temperature low.
  • Use protection: Wear a condom when participating in any kind of sexual activity. This helps to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that might affect your reproductive system.
  • Avoid shaving the area: If you want to get rid of hair down there, trim it instead of shaving it. Trimming is least likely to cause skin irritations or other reactions.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Your scrotum is the thick-skinned pouch (sac) that hangs from the front of your pelvis below your penis. Your scrotum contains your testicles (testes) and has the important job of surrounding them and keeping them safe. Your scrotum is also responsible for maintaining a slightly lower temperature than your average body temperature to help with sperm production. If you have any new symptoms involving your scrotum, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 03/27/2024.

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