Read below about testicular swelling, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your testicular swelling from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Testicular Swelling Symptoms

The testicles may seem to be somewhat vulnerable, yet their location also allows any problem to be quickly noted and readily treated [1].

It is important to have any testicular swelling symptoms treated right away in order to prevent possible loss of fertility [6]. The medical provider will be glad to treat you, or to refer you to someone who can. Testicular swelling is also called scrotal swelling [2].

Characteristics:

  • Pain in one testicle or both testicles that may be severe, moderate, or very mild[1, 3, 8].
  • Pain in the pelvis, groin, lower abdomen, and/or low back [3].
  • Pain during urination and/or ejaculation [3, 8].
  • A lump in the testicle or scrotum [1, 2, 3].
  • A feeling of heaviness or pressure in the scrotum and/or the groin [3].
  • Redness and heat in the scrotum [3].
  • Visibly enlarged veins on the skin of the scrotum [7].
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis [3, 8].
  • Blood in the semen [3, 8].
  • Fever and chills[3].
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin [2, 3].

Who is most often affected by testicular swelling symptoms?

Testicular swelling happens most often to men who:

  • Are uncircumcised [8].
  • Have unprotected sex [8].
  • Have contracted a sexually transmitted disease [4].
  • Have another bacterial illness that migrates to the reproductive tract [9].
  • Have an enlarged or inflamed prostate [8].
  • Have a chronic cough or chronic constipation, with subsequent straining [8].
  • Are overweight or obese.
  • Have recently had a groin injury, urinary tract surgery, or a vasectomy [8].
  • Regularly use a urinary catheter [8].
  • Were born prematurely and/or with abnormalities of the urinary or reproductive tract [3]. Fluid around the testes is most common in infants but can occur in adult men as well.

Are testicular swelling symptoms serious?

  • Mild swelling following a minor injury should clear up in just a few days [2].
  • Larger swelling in a testicle, along with pain, fever, and sometimes abnormal discharge, can lead to scar tissue and loss of fertility if not treated.
  • Sudden severe pain and swelling in a testicle will result in loss of fertility if not immediately treated [6].

Testicular Swelling Causes Overview

Many conditions can have testicular swelling as a symptom. The most common are those involving trauma, disease, and structural abnormalities of the urinary and reproductive tracts, as well as tumors [3].

Most common testicular swelling cause types:

  • Swelling is normal in any part of the body following a direct hit, especially while doing something like playing sports, falling down, or being involved in a car accident [1, 2].
  • Diseases:

    • Acute inflammation of one or both testes, from either bacteria or virus [4].
    • Inflammation of the epididymis, usually in men under 35. Usually from a bacterial sexually transmitted disease, but a urinary tract infection or an infected prostate gland can spread bacteria to the testicles [4].
    • Superficial inflammation or infection of just the scrotal skin [2].

Less common testicular swelling cause types:

  • Torsion, which is twisting of the testicle on its spermatic cord (the blood supply) [1, 2, 3].
  • Accumulation of fluid in a sac that forms around the testicle. This usually occurs in infants but can happen in adult men as well [3].
  • With an inguinal hernia, a loop of intestine pushes through a weak spot in the tissue that lines the abdominal wall. The loop drops down into the scrotum, creating pain and what looks like a large swelling [2, 3].
  • If the veins on and within the scrotum become enlarged, this will interfere with blood supply and can affect fertility [7].

Allergy:

  • Contact allergy from something that has directly touched the skin, such as soap, lotions, irritating plants, or an insect bite [10].
  • Systemic allergy from something you have eaten or medications you have taken [11].

Edema, or fluid retention:

  • Congestive heart failure, which can lead to system-wide edema [2].

Rare and unusual testicular swelling cause types:

  • Rare parasitic worms which can migrate into the scrotum, especially in third-world countries [12].
  • Tumor or other abnormal growths, either benign or malignant [3, 4].

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Testicular Swelling

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced testicular swelling. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Epididymitis

    Epididymitis is swelling (inflammation) of the epididymis, a tube that sits on top of the testicle and is involved in making sperm. Most cases of inflammation are due to an infection.

    Pain eases in a few days, swelling may take up to a week to go down.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, fever, chills, pain in one testicle, vomiting
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  2. 2.Intermittent Testicular Torsion

    Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle rotates which cuts off the testicle's blood supply. This causes severe pain and swelling. In the case of intermittent testicular torsion, the testicle de-rotates itself and symptoms resolve.

    Symptoms resolve within a few days

    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
  3. 3.Testicular Cancer

    Testicular cancer is a condition where cells inside the testicle begin to grow out of control, forming a lump (called a tumor). These cells may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

    Outlook is better than most cancers, and your ability to have sex or have children will not be affected.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    testicular lump, spontaneous testicle pain, hard testicle lump, swelling of one ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Testicular Torsion

    Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle rotates which cuts off the testicle's blood supply. This causes severe pain and swelling.

    With prompt treatment, it is unlikely there will be any permanent damage. It is important to get to the hospital within 6 hours of the start of pain to make sure the testicle can be saved.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    testicle pain, nausea, pain in one testicle, vomiting, testicular swelling
    Symptoms that always occur with testicular torsion:
    testicle pain
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Non - Serious Testicle Injury

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

    Your testicle pain should resolve in 5-15 minutes. If it lasts for an hour or more, consider a visit to an urgent care center.

    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
  6. 6.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.

    Most people begin to feel better in a few days although it may take up to a month for the tenderness to fully disappear.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous testicle pain, fever, tender testicular swelling, muscle aches, new headache
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Testicular Swelling Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate treatment in the emergency room, or call 911, if you have sudden severe pain and swelling in one or both testicles, along with nausea and vomiting[15]. This is considered a medical emergency because it can result in tissue death and loss of the testicles.

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Pain, swelling, and fever with burning on urination and abnormal discharge from the penis.

Testicular swelling remedies that you can try at home:

  • If the pain seems minor, you can use an ice pack to reduce swelling [1, 2].
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or other NSAIDs [15].
  • Wear an athletic supporter to help take the pressure off of the testicles [1].
  • Rest and avoid strenuous activities, especially lifting anything heavy [11].
  • Make lifestyle improvements in diet, exercise, and sleep [6].
  • Always use protection during sexual activity [2].

FAQs About Testicular Swelling

Here are some frequently asked questions about testicular swelling.

Can a UTI cause testicular swelling?

Yes, urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause testicular swelling [4]. Infections from the urethra can travel down the vas deferens to the epididymis or testes to cause an infection. Inflammation and swelling will result from the infection. The bacteria E. Coli and pseudomonas are the most common culprits in older men [5], while gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common culprits in men under the age of 35 [4].

Can STDs cause testicular swelling?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also known as sexually tranmitted infections) can cause testicular swelling in the same way that non-sexually transmitted urinary tract infections can cause testicular swelling [2, 4]. The mechanism involves colonization of the urethra by the organism and then traveling down the vas deferens to the epididymis or testes. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common sexually transmitted causes of testicular swelling [8].

Can kidney stones cause testicular swelling?

While kidney stones can sometimes cause pain that radiates down to the testicles, they do not cause testicular swelling [16].

How long does testicular swelling last?

How long testicular swelling lasts depends on the cause. If testicular torsion is the cause, immediate detorsion is required within 4–8 hours of the onset of testicular swelling and pain [2]. Symptoms should improve immediately after the procedure. In the case of an infection causing swelling, symptoms typically improve within 1–3 days of antibiotic treatment initiation, but it may take up to 4 weeks for complete resolution.

Why is only one of my testicles swollen?

Unilateral testicular swelling can occur due to the same reasons you may have bilateral testicular swelling — torsion, infection, fluid collection, hernia — so it is not very helpful in determining the etiology [2, 3, 8]. More useful in evaluating the acute swelling is the nature and timing of the onset of pain, the particular area of the testicle that is swollen, and the presence of fever and lower urinary tract symptoms (e.g. frequency, urgency, painful urination). While a less common cause of swelling, a persistently enlarged testicle should be evaluated to exclude a malignant growth.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Testicular Swelling

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

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our testicular swelling symptom checker to find out more.

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Testicular Swelling Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced testicular swelling have also experienced:

    • 15% Testicle Pain
    • 13% Pain in One Testicle
    • 3% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • People who have experienced testicular swelling had symptoms persist for:

    • 39% Less Than a Week
    • 25% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced testicular swelling were most often matched with:

    • 38% Epididymitis
    • 30% Intermittent Testicular Torsion
    • 30% Testicular Cancer
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

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References

  1. Swollen or Painful Testicle. healthdirect. Published August 2017. healthdirect Link.
  2. Shah AP. Scrotal Swelling. Merck Manual Consumer Version. Updated September 2017. Merck Manual Consumer Version Link.
  3. Sobol J. Scrotal Masses. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Published August 26, 2017. MedlinePlus Link.
  4. Crawford P, Crop JA. Evaluation of Scrotal Masses. American Family Physician. 2014;89(9):723-727. AAFP Link.
  5. Epididymitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated January 28, 2011. CDC Link.
  6. What is Male Infertility? Urology Care Foundation. Urology Care Foundation Link.
  7. Varicocele. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medicine Link.
  8. What are Epididymitis and Orchitis? Urology Care Foundation. Urology Care Foundation Link.
  9. Epididymitis. BetterHealth Channel. Updated July 2018. BetterHealth Channel Link.
  10. Krishnan A, Kar S. Scrotal Dermatitis - Can We Consider It As A Separate Entity? Oman Medical Journal. 2013;28(5):302-305. OMJ Link.
  11. Sobol J. Scrotal Swelling. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated January 30, 2017. MedlinePlus Link.
  12. Parasites - Lymphatic Filariasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated September 27, 2018. CDC Link.
  13. What is Testicular Torsion? Urology Care Foundation. Urology Care Foundation Link.
  14. Gupta R, Senadhi V. A Diagnostic Dilemma: Metastatic Testicular Cancer and Systemic Sarcoidosis - A Review of the Literature. Case Reports in Oncology. 2011;4:118-124. Karger Link.
  15. Sobol J. Testicle Pain. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated August 26, 2017. MedlinePlus Link.
  16. Shah AP. Scrotal Pain. Merck Manual Consumer Version. Updated September 2017. Merck Manual Consumer Version Link.