Why Do My Testicles Hurt? Right & Left Side Testicle Pain Causes

Testicle pain can be caused from sexually transmitted infections, a urinary tract infection, or a groin hernia. Sudden scrotal pain can occur from testicular torsion or trauma from a direct injury to the groin. Read now for more information on causes and treatment options for hurting testicles.

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Contents

  1. Symptoms
  2. Causes
  3. 10 Possible Testicle Pain Conditions
  4. Treatments and Relief
  5. Real-Life Stories
  6. FAQs
  7. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  8. Statistics
  9. Related Articles
  10. References

Testicle Pain Symptoms

It's enough to send even the most stoic men running to the doctor's office worried about precious cargo and rightfully so. Testicular pain symptoms often indicate a problem down under. The testicles serve two important functions: production of sperm and testosterone, the male sex hormone. They're very sensitive and there are many different causes of testicular pain [2,3].

Think of the testicles as two balls hanging by ropes with very little natural padding. The slightest disturbance may lead to discomfort even when the problem isn't confined to the testicles themselves. Pain may also come from the epididymitis, which is a curved tube that sits on each testicle to store sperm, or from the scrotum, which is the sack that holds the testicles. In some cases, the pain may originate in other parts of the body like the kidney or bowel [1,2].

Common characteristics of testicle pain

If you're experiencing testicle pain, it can likely be described by the following [4-6].

Testicle Pain Causes

Testicular pain may indicate a problem with the testicle itself or with surrounding structures like the epididymis or scrotum. Discomfort may range in severity and can be due to issues like inflammation, fluid buildup or infection [1].

Infection testicular pain causes

Testicle pain may be occurring due to an infection, such the following.

  • Sexually transmitted infections: Bacteria like gonorrhea or chlamydia can enter through the penis and cause pain and inflammation in the testicles or surrounding structures like the epididymis or prostate.
  • Urinary tract infection: Though less common in men, those who are older or frail can be vulnerable to UTIs that may also lead to testicular discomfort.
  • Viruses: In those who are not vaccinated, the mumps can cause pain and swelling of the testicles, especially in adolescents and young adults.

Physical testicular pain causes

Physical abnormalities of the testicle may result in pain.

  • Torsion: A testicle can twist around and lead to a kink in the nerves and blood vessels that supply it, causing severe and sudden pain that is a medical emergency.
  • Fluid buildup: Fluid can accumulate around the testicle or epididymis or in the scrotum, leading to increase in size and an uncomfortable feeling of heaviness.

Other testicular pain causes

Other causes of testicle pain may include the following.

  • Referred pain: Discomfort that comes from other parts of the body, like the kidneys, may feel like it is coming from the testicles.
  • Diabetic neuropathy: Damage to nerves in people with high blood sugar can cause testicular pain.
  • Cancer: While this is a common concern of men with testicular pain, it is almost always diagnosed as a painless lump on the testicle.

10 Possible Testicle Pain Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced testicle pain. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is an inflammation of one or both of the tubes of the epididymis, a coiled tube which stores sperm inside each testicle. It is caused by a bacterial infection, most often from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Epididymitis can also be caused by a urina...

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Intermittent testicular torsion

Intermittent testicular torsion is also called ITT or chronic testicular torsion. Torsion refers to an abnormal twisting of the spermatic cord, which runs from each testicle up into the abdomen and carries blood vessels, nerves, and sperm-transporting ducts.

In intermittent cases, the testicle becomes untwisted on its own and the symptoms spontaneously resolve. The condition nearly always returns, however, and may continue to come and go.

The cause is believed to be a congenital abnormality that leaves the testicle insufficiently anchored within the scrotum.

Symptoms include sudden, severe groin and testicular pain with nausea and vomiting, followed by spontaneous relief of symptoms even without treatment.

Eventually, testicular torsion can result in loss of circulation followed by tissue death and loss of the testicle. Any type of testicular torsion is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and sometimes ultrasound.

Treatment involves emergency surgery to untwist the spermatic cord and anchor the testicle in its proper place within the scrotum.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: nausea, testicle pain that comes and goes, vomiting, pain in one testicle, testicular swelling

Symptoms that always occur with intermittent testicular torsion: testicle pain that comes and goes

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Testicular torsion

In torsion, the testicle is inadequately attached to the scrotum, allowing it to rotate freely within. This can lead to twisting of the testicle about the blood vessels to which it is connected, cutting off blood flow and leading to severe pain and the eventual death of the testicl...

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Groin nerve irritation

There are several nerves supplying the groin, inner thigh and genital region. Entrapment or irritation of one of these nerves can result in pain or numbness in this area. This is often caused by surgery in this area but can happen without a specific cause as well.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: thigh numbness, groin numbness, testicle numbness, sharp testicle or scrotum pain, sharp groin pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Groin hernia

A groin hernia, also called an inguinal hernia, means that a structure in the lower abdomen – a loop of intestine or a section of fat – has pushed through the muscles of the abdominal wall. This creates a bulge, or hernia, that can be seen and felt in the groin.

A hernia is caused by a weak spot in the abdominal wall muscles, which can separate under heavy lifting or repeated straining. The weakness may be inherited or may be from previous surgery, injury, or pregnancy.

Symptoms include a bulge low down in the abdomen, most visible when the person stands; and pain in the bulge with any strain on the abdominal muscles, such as lifting a heavy object or bending over.

A hernia will not heal on its own. There is the risk of serious complications if the blood supply to the herniated organ becomes reduced or cut off.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and x-ray or CT scan.

A small hernia may need no treatment. A larger one can be repaired with surgery.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: pain in the lower right abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, groin pain, testicle pain, groin lump

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Testicle Pain Symptom Checker

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Non-serious testicle injury

Being struck in the testicles is very common, and despite the intense pain that follows, rarely requires professional medical care.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: testicle pain from an injury, testicle injury

Symptoms that always occur with non-serious testicle injury: testicle injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Chronic prostatitis

Chronic prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, located between the bladder and penis, which produces fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Chronic prostatitis is distinguished from acute prostatitis in that chronic prostatitis has caused symptoms for at least three...

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Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)

Painful bladder syndrome, also called interstitial cystitis or IC, is a chronic condition of pain and discomfort in the urinary system.

The cause is unknown. It may be an autoimmune disorder and is often found with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, or vulvodynia (pain in the outer female organs.) Some researchers feel the condition may be linked to a history of abuse.

Painful bladder syndrome is more common in women than in men, but can happen to anyone.

Symptoms vary and may include pressure and discomfort in the lower abdomen; pain during sexual intercourse; bladder pain; and a frequent urge to urinate.

A medical provider should be seen for these symptoms, because painful bladder syndrome can interfere with quality of life and lead to depression.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; blood and urine tests; and sometimes cystoscopy. Women may have a pelvic examination and men may have a digital rectal examination.

There is no cure specifically for painful bladder syndrome, so treatment involves addressing the symptoms and making lifestyle changes.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), depressed mood, pelvis pain, arthralgias or myalgias

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are usually caused by infections by fecal bacteria.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections include pain with urination (dysuria), ...

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Orchitis

Orchitis occurs when one or both testicles are inflamed. This is often caused by sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia. More rarely, orchitis is caused by a virus.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: spontaneous testicle pain, fever, tender testicular swelling, muscle aches, new headache

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Testicle Pain Treatments and Relief

Since the testicles are very sensitive and vulnerable to damage, it's best to see your doctor when testicular pain develops. A healthcare professional can best determine if the pain must be treated immediately or if you can deal with the problem at home with rest and medication.

How to better prevent testicle pain

Get in the habit of performing monthly self-examinations, so you know exactly what's changed when you have a concern.

  • Take time after normal bathing or showering: Start after a warm shower or bath when your testicles are relaxed and easy to feel and hold each testicle between your thumb and forefinger [7].
  • Understand the anatomy: Get to know the various structures, including the epididymis, which feels like a soft rope on the back of the testicle.
  • Pay particular attention to any new lumps or bumps: While testicular cancer is usually painless, discomfort may indicate an infection or buildup of fluid that should be evaluated by your doctor.

At-home testicular pain treatments

You can begin to address your testicle pain symptoms at home with the following.

  • Avoid strenuous activity: Heavy lifting or exercise can increase the pain and worsen underlying symptoms like swelling [8].
  • Wear supportive underwear: Briefs are better than boxers and can help alleviate pain and swelling associated with common testicular problems [5,9].
  • Over-the-counter medication: Pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be effective in treating minor testicular pain symptoms.
  • Ice packs: "Gentle" application of icepacks for a few minutes at a time can be particularly helpful in reducing swelling.

Professional testicular pain treatments

If you're still experiencing symptoms, or your pain worsens, you should go see your doctor. He or she may recommend the following.

  • Antibiotics: These treat testicular pain caused by bacteria, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, or a urinary tract infection. [8]
  • Ultrasound: A doctor may perform this test to make sure that the blood flow to your testicles is not blocked and to see if there is any fluid buildup in the area. [8]
  • Surgery: If the blood flow to your testicle is blocked, you will need surgery right away. Otherwise, routine surgery can help treat causes of testicular pain like fluid buildup. [8]

When testicle pain is an emergency

You should seek treatment immediately for the following:

  • Testicular pain that comes on suddenly or is very severe
  • Nausea, vomiting, fever or chills along with the pain [5,8]
  • Trauma to the penis or testicles: Such as during sex [10]
  • Blood in your urine [5]

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FAQs About Testicle Pain

Here are some frequently asked questions about testicle pain.

Can a UTI cause testicle pain?

Yes, a urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause testicle pain. A urinary tract infection is an infection which encompasses the urethra (the conduit for urine and semen in the penis), as well as the urinary sphincter, bladder, ureters (tubes connecting the bladder to the kidneys), and kidneys. Infection along the urethra can sometimes track backwards into the branch of the urethra that leads to the testicles [8].

Which STDs lead to testicle pain?

A common cause of testicular pain in the setting of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is epididymitis or a swelling of the epididymis. The epididymis is a structure that assists sperm as it develops. It can be found just off the urethra and can develop inflammation following infection with chlamydia or gonorrhea. It is more frequent in older men with enlarged prostates.

Does a hernia cause testicle pain?

Yes, a hernia can cause testicular pain. There are many types of hernias. An inguinal hernia or a hernia of the groin through a small opening at the base of the abdomen can pinch one of the nerves that innervates the testicles causing pain [4,11].

Why do my testicles hurt after I ejaculate?

There are many reasons why your testicles may hurt after ejaculating. Following ejaculation, you may suffer from a muscle spasm of the muscles of your perineal region. This can lead to a cramp-like pain of the testicles. You may also be suffering from congestion of the vasculature of the pelvic region, which can lead to a dull, achy sensation [12].

Why does my testicle pain switch sides?

Testicular pain may be due to posture or physical activities. Biking, for example, can lead to testicular pain from friction between a poorly placed bike seat and the testicles. This can switch sides with different postures. Generally speaking, more dangerous forms of testicular damage are one-sided and stay on a single side [7,13].

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Testicle Pain

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Do you notice anything going on with your testicles or scrotum?
  • Have you experienced any nausea?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your testicle pain. These questions are also covered.

Testicle Pain Quiz

Testicle Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced testicle pain have also experienced:

  • 9% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • 5% Lower Back Pain
  • 4% Penis Pain

People who have experienced testicle pain were most often matched with:

  • 40% Testicular Torsion
  • 33% Epididymitis
  • 26% Intermittent Testicular Torsion

People who have experienced testicle pain had symptoms persist for:

  • 33% Less than a week
  • 27% Less than a day
  • 20% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Testicle Pain Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your testicle pain

References

  1. Testicular Pain: Possible Causes. Cleveland Clinic. Updated July 28, 2016. Cleveland Clinic Link.
  2. Wald M. Testicular Pain. University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Updated February 2016. UIHC Link.
  3. Amory JK, Bremner WJ. Regulation of Testicular Function in Men: Implications for Male Hormonal Contraceptive Development. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2003;85(2-5):357-361. NCBI Link.
  4. Signs and Symptoms of Scrotal and Testicular Conditions. Beaumont Health. Beaumont Health Link.
  5. Testicle Pain. Mayo Clinic. Published March 30, 2018. Mayo Clinic Link.
  6. Blood in Semen (Haematospermia). NHS. Updated July 19, 2016. NHS Link.
  7. Testicular Cancer - What to Look For. American Family Physician. 1999;59(9):2549-2550. AAFP Link.
  8. What are Epididymitis and Orchitis? Urology Care Foundation. Urology Care Foundation Link.
  9. Buchinsky R. Got Testicle Pain? It May Be Epididymitis. University Hospitals. Published May 15, 2014. UH Link.
  10. Causes of Scrotal and Testicular Conditions. Beaumont Health. Beaumont Health Link.
  11. LeBlanc KE, LeBlanc LL, LeBlanc KA. Inguinal Hernias: Diagnosis and Management. American Family Physician. 2013;87(12):844-848. AAFP Link.
  12. Parnham A, Serefoglu EC. Retrograde Ejaculation, Painful Ejaculation and Hematospermia. Translational Andrology and Urology. 2016;5(4):592-601. NCBI Link.
  13. Kelly K. Testicular Pain: When the Boys Hurt. Katie Kelly PT. Published June 14, 2017. Katie Kelly PT Link.

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