Testicle pain: What causes it?

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Testicle pain: What causes it?

Question

My husband has had pain in his right testicle for the last few days. It hasn't gotten any worse, but it's not going away either. What are some possible causes of testicle pain? Should he see his doctor?

Julia
New York

Answer

The testicles are very sensitive, and even a minor injury can cause pain or discomfort. Pain may originate in the testicles themselves, in the scrotum or in the tube at the back of the testicle that stores sperm (the epididymis). Pain in the groin or lower abdomen may also radiate to the testicles. Pinpointing the location of the pain can help determine its cause.

Causes of testicle pain may include:

  • Infection or inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) or testicle (orchitis). Epididymitis is the most common cause of testicle pain in adult men.
  • Minor injuries, such as a blow to the scrotum. Such injuries are usually very painful, but temporary.
  • A stone in the lower ureter, which can cause pain in the testicle on the same side as the stone.
  • Enlargement of the veins within the scrotum (varicocele).
  • Fluid in the testicles, such as due to a spermatocele or hydrocele.
  • Rarely, abdominal infections or bleeding.

A more serious cause of testicle pain is testicular torsion, a condition that occurs when the testicles and spermatic cord, a structure that runs from the abdomen to the testicles, twist inside the scrotum. Because testicular torsion can block the flow of blood to the testicles, it requires immediate medical attention. Testicular cancer also may, rarely, cause testicle pain.

Sudden, severe testicle pain requires prompt medical attention — especially if the pain is accompanied by nausea, fever, chills or blood in the urine. Your husband should also see his doctor if he experiences:

  • Mild testicle pain lasting longer than a few days
  • A lump or swelling in or around a testicle

Last Updated: 04/18/2008
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