Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Saurabh Sethi, MD, MPH
This guest post was written by Brett Warren, a Sexual Health Counselor at First American Service Group. FASG, Inc. has been providing sexual health information and medical testing services online in the US since 2013 through its subsidiary STDAware.com, trusted online STD testing providers.
Testicles are egg-shaped reproductive organs in the scrotum. Pain in the testicles can be caused by numerous things, the most common being an injury. However, if your balls hurt without any obvious cause or injury, you need to have your symptoms evaluated immediately.
Most people do not know how dangerous testicular pain can be, so they tolerate the pain for a long time before seeing a doctor. Testicular pain can often indicate poor health conditions, some more dangerous and serious than others. For example, it may be a result of a sexually transmitted disease or a testicular torsion.
There are many other possibilities as well.
More often than not, testicular pain can lead to other types of pain. You may feel abdominal and groin pain before you start feeling the pain in the testicles, both of which should be evaluated by a doctor. If you ignore these pains, it may result in irreversible damage to the scrotum and testicles.
Common Causes of Testicle Pain
Pain in the testicles is often a result of medical problems that require immediate treatment. Such conditions include:
- Inflammation of the testicles caused by chlamydia (also called epididymitis)
- Damage to the scrotum and its nerves, caused by diabetic neuropathy
- Gangrene that resulted from testicular trauma or torsion
- Inguinal hernia
- Orchitis or testicle inflammation
- Undescended testicle
- Fluid in the testicle or spermatocele
- Enlarged veins in the testicle or variocele
- Testicular rupture from an injury or blow to the groin
- Kidney stone in the urinary tract
- Testicular cancer
- Inguinal hernia
- Inflammation of the blood vessels called Henoch-Schonlein
- Mass in the scrotum
- Infection of the urinary tract
In some cases, this pain may be a result of more severe medical conditions, such as a testicular torsion. This condition is characterized by twisted testicles, which results in insufficient blood supply to the testicles. This can lead to tissue damage if untreated.
Testicular torsion is considered a medical emergency. Therefore, you must treat this condition quickly to prevent serious damage. This condition most often occurs in young adults between the ages 10 and 20.
In rare cases, pain in the balls is caused by testicular cancer. This condition often causes a lump you can feel, but the lump is often painless. Still, you should examine any lump you notice as quickly as possible to stop the cancer from spreading.
Getting Medical Help
It is important to know when you should contact a doctor if you are experiencing pain in your balls.
Outside of regular checkups, you should make an appointment with your doctor if you notice something abnormal with your testicles. Of course, you should still check for STDs if you have new sex partners and/or unprotected sex, but it is especially important to call the doctor if:
- You develop a fever while experiencing pain in the testicles
- You discover a lump on the scrotum
- Your scrotum is red and tender to the touch
- Your scrotum feels warmer than usual
- You have had unprotected sex or contact with a person who has the mumps
In addition to this, it is highly recommended to seek immediate medical help if the pain you are experiencing is combined with vomiting and nausea.
Treatment of Testicular Pain
Testicular pain that is not serious can be treated with:
- Ice that reduces scrotum swelling
- An athletic cup
- Warm baths with natural oils
- Various over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Rolled towels to support the testicles while you are lying down
In cases where the pain is severe, you need to seek medical treatment from a healthcare provider. A doctor will recommend and perform a physical exam on the groin, scrotum, and abdomen to diagnose the cause of these symptoms. In addition to this examination, the doctor may ask about any other symptoms or conditions you are experiencing.
Once the doctor determines the cause of your symptoms, they may choose one or a combination of the following treatment methods:
- Antibiotics for an infection
- Prescription pain medicine
- Surgery in the case of a testicular torsion
- Surgery to reduce the accumulation of fluids in the testicles
- Surgery to correct a condition called undescended testicle
To diagnose the condition associated with your testicular pain, you may be required to go through some additional tests. These include:
- Ultrasound of the scrotal sac and testicles
- Urine cultures
- Prostate secretions examinations, such as rectal exam
Complications of Pain in the Testicles
If you delay your examination and treatment, serious complications become more likely. While treatment for most testicular conditions is quick and easy, an untreated STD can result in permanent damage to the scrotum and testicles. This can affect your fertility.
The worst case scenarios are associated with serious conditions like testicular torsion. If not treated, this can result in gangrene, which is a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout the entire body.
- Practicing safer sex (especially by using condoms)
- Wearing a cup, especially if you are an athlete
- Examining your testicles regularly to check for lumps or any changes
- Emptying the entire bladder when urinating, to avoid urinary tract infections
If you are experiencing testicular pain even though you are practicing these steps, seek medical attention immediately.
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Brett Warren is a Sexual Health Counselor at First American Service Group (FASG). FASG, Inc. has been providing sexual health information and medical testing services online in the United States since 2013 through its subsidiary STDAware.com. STDAware.com screens patients for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HSV-1, HSV-2, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C with a hybrid order online, test in person platform.
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Did this help you identify your symptoms? Do you still have questions about the pain you’re experiencing or would you like to share how your symptoms were similar/different? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!