What causes testicular pain?

There are many possible causes of testicular pain.

  • Injury or trauma: An injury to the testicles can occur during physical activity, a fight, or an accident.
  • Orchitis: Inflammation of one or both testicles is caused by a bacterial or a viral infection. Some of the bacteria that may cause orchitis include Escherichia coli, streptococcus, and staphylococcus. Bacteria associated with sexually transmitted diseases (such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia) can also cause inflammation of the testicles. In younger boys under age 10, the mumps virus is the common cause of orchitis, which can occur four to six days after the onset of the mumps. Up to one-third of boys who have the mumps will develop orchitis.
  • Nerve damage, entrapment, or inflammation: Diabetic neuropathy may cause damage to the nerves of the scrotum.
  • Inguinal hernia: A section of intestine protrudes through a weak part of the stomach muscles near the groin.
  • Epididymitis: Inflammation occurs in the epididymis, the tightly coiled mass of thin tubes that carries sperm from the testes to the sperm duct. Acute epididymitis involves pain, swelling, and inflammation of the epididymis that lasts less than six weeks. In some cases, the testicle is also involved (a condition known as epididymo-orchitis). Chronic epididymitis lasts longer than six weeks, with symptoms of discomfort and/or pain in the scrotum, testicle, or epididymis.
  • Spermatocele: Fluid in a cyst near the testicle.
  • Hydrocele: Collection of fluid around the testicle.
  • Varicocele: A group of enlarged veins near the testicles.
  • Testicular torsion: Twisting of one or both testicles occurs around the spermatic cord, causing the blood supply to the testicle(s) to be cut off. It occurs when the tissues around the testicle are loosely attached to the scrotum, allowing the testicle to twist on itself. It requires immediate medical treatment. Torsion may occur during exercise, but it can also happen when standing, sitting, or during sleep.
  • Kidney stones: These may cause referred pain in the scrotum.
  • Post-vasectomy pain syndrome: Men who have undergone a vasectomy may experience pain, possibly caused by increased pressure in the vas or epididymis.
  • Testicular cancer: Some tumors might cause a dull ache or pain in the testicles, or heaviness and aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum.

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