Scrotal masses are abnormalities in the contents of the scrotum, the bag of skin hanging behind the penis. The scrotum contains the two testicles and related structures that produce, store and transport sperm and male sex hormones. Scrotal masses may be the accumulation of fluids, the growth of abnormal tissue, or normal contents of the scrotum that have become swollen, inflamed or hardened.
Scrotal masses need to be examined by a doctor, even if you're not experiencing pain or other symptoms. Scrotal masses could be cancerous or caused by another condition that affects the function and health of the testicles.
Self-examination and regular doctor exams of the scrotum are important for prompt recognition, diagnosis and treatment of scrotal masses.
Signs and symptoms of scrotal masses vary depending on the nature of the abnormality. In some cases, the only sign may be the presence of a lump in the scrotum that you can feel with your fingers.
Scrotal mass symptoms may include:
If the cause of a scrotal mass is an infection, symptoms may also include:
When to see a doctor
Some scrotal masses are more common in children. See your doctor if your son experiences symptoms of a scrotal mass, if you have any concerns about the development of his genitals, or if he is "missing" a testicle — an undescended or retractile testicle, which may increase the risk of some scrotal masses later in life.
Male reproductive system
The male reproductive system makes, stores and moves sperm. Testicles produce sperm. Fluid from the seminal vesicles and prostate gland combine with sperm to make semen. The penis ejaculates semen ...
A number of different disorders can result in a scrotal mass or the development of an abnormality in the scrotum:
A spermatocele, also known as a spermatic cyst, is a typically painless, noncancerous (benign), fluid-filled sac that grows near the top of a testicle. ...
Hydrocele is the type of scrotal swelling that occurs when fluid collects in the thin sheath that surrounds the testicle. ...
A varicocele is enlargement of the veins that transport oxygen-depleted blood away from the testicle. ...
Inguinal hernias occur when part of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdomen — often along the inguinal canal, which carries the spermatic cord in men. ...
Factors that increase the risk of a scrotal mass vary because of the variety of causes of abnormalities in the scrotum. Significant risk factors include the following:
Undescended or retractile testicle
Abnormalities present at birth
History of testicular cancer
Not all scrotal masses result in long-term complications. However, any mass that affects the health or function of the testicle can lead to:
Preparing for your appointment
If you're experiencing pain, you should get emergency care. If you detect a scrotal mass, you'll probably start by seeing your family doctor. For some diagnostic tests, you may be referred to a specialist in urinary tract and male sexual disorders (urologist). Preparing for your appointment with your doctor or a urologist will help you make the best use of your time. Preparations that you would make for your child's appointment are, for the most part, the same as you would make for yourself.
What you can do
If you think you have signs or symptoms of a scrotal mass, you may want to ask some of the following questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Your doctor will rely on a number of factors to diagnose a scrotal mass. These may include:
Treatments and drugs
Most scrotal masses require minimally invasive treatment or no treatment at all, but some require more-serious procedures.
Noncancerous (benign) scrotal masses
Most cases of testicular cancer can be cured, but close follow-up care is necessary to watch for possible recurring cancer.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Testicular self-exams may help you find a scrotal mass early, allowing you to get prompt medical care. If you perform this exam regularly, you'll understand what "normal" feels like and be better prepared to detect any abnormality. To do a testicular self-exam, follow these steps:
If you find a lump or other abnormality, call your doctor as soon as possible.
A regular self-examination of the testicles can identify growths early. Grasp and roll the testicle between your thumbs and forefingers, feeling for lumps, swelling, hardness or other changes. ...
Last Updated: 2011-07-14
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