Lump on Testicle (Scrotal Masses)
What is a lump on the testicle (scrotal mass)?
A lump on the testicle, or a scrotal mass, can form in your scrotum (the pouch of skin containing the testicles). It can be a symptom of other medical conditions, most of which aren't serious. The majority of scrotal masses are benign (not cancerous) and don't pose a risk to your health.
Some, however, can affect fertility in men, and in rare cases, be a sign of a serious condition such as cancer. That's why your healthcare provider should examine any lump you may discover in your scrotum.
Where would a lump on my testicle be, and what would it feel like?
Lumps can be located anywhere around the testicles and vary in size. Some can be as small as a pea or marble, but some can grow larger.
Most lumps are soft and fluid-filled and may make your scrotum look a little swollen; these are usually harmless and often go away without treatment. Some lumps are solid and may feel attached to one of your testicles. Harder lumps can be a sign of something more serious.
If you feel lumps or swelling, let your provider know.
What are the possible causes of a lump on the testicle (scrotal mass)?
A lump on the testicle can be a symptom of several disorders. Most of these conditions are harmless.
In rare cases, a scrotal mass can be a sign of a more serious condition such as testicular cancer. Other causes of scrotal masses include:
- Cyst: Fluid-filled sacs in the testicle.
- Epididymitis: Infection or inflammation (swelling) of the tube that stores sperm.
- Hernia: Tissue pushes into the scrotum through a weak spot in the abdominal wall.
- Varicocele: Swollen veins inside the testicle.
How are scrotal masses diagnosed?
Doctors will ask about your medical history. They also use several tests to identify the cause of a scrotal mass. These tests include:
- Blood or urine test: A doctor takes a sample of blood or urine to look for an infection or signs of other conditions such as cancer.
- Imaging: Ultrasound tests can show a lump’s location and help doctors rule out conditions such as a hernia or cancer.
- Physical exam: A doctor feels the scrotum and its contents to learn about the makeup of the mass.
- Transillumination: A doctor shines a bright light from behind the scrotum to see a mass’s location and size, and whether fluid has built up.
Care and Treatment
How are lumps on the testicle managed or treated?
Treatment for a scrotal lump depends on the cause. Some cases don’t need treatment. Standard therapies for scrotal masses and testicle pain include:
- Medication such as antibiotics to treat an infection.
- Pushing the protruding part of a hernia back into place.
- Surgery to remove, drain or repair a mass.
- Surgical removal of the testicle, for testicular cancer.
When to Call the Doctor
When should I call the doctor about a lump on my testicle?
If you have a scrotal mass, a doctor should examine it. Some scrotal masses are more serious than others. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a scrotal mass that:
- Appears suddenly.
- Becomes infected.
- Causes pain or discomfort.
- Forms inside the testicle and not on the skin.
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