Testicles are parts of male reproductive system. They have two main functions: to produce male reproductive hormones (testosterone) and to produce male reproductive cells (spermatozoids). Testicles are placed in a skin fold called the scrotum.
Hydrocele is the most common cause of painless testicular swelling in young boys. It represents a sac filled with fluid which surrounds the testicles, and it is often present at birth, but it is expected to disappear during the first year of life. If it remains, it can be removed surgically during childhood. If a hydrocele appears in adulthood, it can be a result of injury or infection. In these cases, it is more likely to be combined with pain in the scrotal region. Generally, a hydrocele is not a harmful condition, but it should be treated if it causes problems.
represents an enlarged venous system of the scrotal sac. This condition rarely causes problems such as pain in the scrotal region, and it usually does not require treatment.
Infection and inflammation of the testicles and/or epididymis can also produce pain and swelling in the scrotal region. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common causes of these infections, which require antibiotic treatment. The symptoms include pain, swelling, lumps, enlargement of scrotum, bloody semen, and discharge from penis. An increased body temperature can also be present. Proper antibiotic treatment is required to eliminate the infection and prevent complications.
In adults, kidney stones can produce sharp pain and unpleasant feelings in the scrotal region. Although this does not seem logical, there is a reason for this phenomenon. Namely, the scrotum is innervated by a nerve that touches the front side of the ureter nearly half way to the urinary bladder. When a kidney stone passes through the ureter, it causes its irritation and inflammation which is transferred to the mentioned nerve. That way, a person with a kidney stone moving through the ureter feels pain which originates from the lower back and radiates forward and downward to the scrotum. Tests that need to be performed include a urine check for crystals and ultrasound and x-ray imaging of the kidneys and urinary tract.
Testicular torsion (a twisted testicle) is an emergency condition occurring usually during childhood, in which the testicular cord is twisted, thus blocking the blood vessel that brings blood to the testis. The symptoms include sharp pain, swelling, and changed color of the affected testis. This condition needs to be treated within 6 hours from the appearance of pain in order to prevent permanent damage to the testis. Most of these patients are successfully treated because they visit the doctor immediately due to very intensive pain.
Testicular cancer affects mostly young adults between 15 and 35 years. Although this cancer can give metastases, it is very treatable and a large number of patients are completely cured. Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
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