Lump on Testicle (Scrotal Masses)

Overview

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.

Possible Causes

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.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/23/2019.

References

  • Crawford P, Crop J. Am Fam Physician. 2014 May 1;89(9):723-727. Accessed 9/24/2020.Evaluation of Scrotal Masses. (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0501/p723.html)
  • Merck Manual. . Accessed 9/24/2020.Scrotal Swelling (https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/symptoms-of-kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/scrotal-swelling)
  • British Association of Urological Surgeons. Accessed 9/24/2020.Testicular lump. (https://www.baus.org.uk/patients/conditions/12/testicular_lump)
  • NHS. Accessed 9/24/2020.Testicle lumps and swelling. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicle-lumps-and-swellings/)

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