Testicular pain may be the result of various reasons, from an infection to a medical emergency. Sometimes, the pain is radiating from another part of your body, such as the kidneys. Kidney stones may present with testicular pain. Other times, it might be a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that you got after unprotected sex. In such a case, an STD rapid kit test will give you the answer. The two most common STDs that can cause pain in the testicles are gonorrhea and chlamydia. The intensity of your pain, the aspect of your testicles, and any additional symptoms might give you some hints.
Eight causes of testicle pain
Testicle pain may come and go, be intermittent or persistent, and sometimes represent an unbearable symptom. The following are eight well-established causes of testicular pain. Some are more prevalent in young men, while others are more common in older males.
The epididymis is part of the male reproductive organs and doesn't exist in women. It is where the sperm stays and matures before it exits the body. Two of the most common causes of epididymitis are STDs and urinary tract infections. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two STDs that, if left untreated, can lead to epididymitis. They are usually asymptomatic and may present with penile discharge. Men with epididymitis have a scrotum that feels hot to the touch. They also have swollen testicles that are red and bigger. The pain increases gradually and is a sign that the untreated and asymptomatic infection spread beyond the urethra. In such a case, you will require antibiotics treatment to treat the STD or the urinary tract infection.
Kidney stones formed in your kidneys and traveling down your ureters may cause testicle pain. Doctors attribute to it as referred pain as it radiated from another part of your body to your testicles. In such a case, your testicles look healthy without any signs of inflammation. Physicians usually suggest waiting for the stones to pass down to your urinary bladder, from which they might exit through your urethra. Sometimes, kidney stones may present with an altered urine color due to blood. Burning sensation while urinating may also be a sign. In more severe cases, you might have nausea or a sharp colic pain that is cramping in character. The pain may radiate to the back. When the stones don't pass, and you start having systemic symptoms of infection, such as fever, you might need more invasive interventions. Surgery and shock-wave lithotripsy are two options.
When your abdominal muscles become weak, tissue might push itself outside, creating a hernia. Inguinal hernia results when the tissue pushes itself into your scrotum. The aspect of your testicles changes due to swelling. Having an inguinal hernia might cause considerable pain. Doctors try to push it back or reduce it. If it doesn't work, you might need to undergo surgery to correct the defect that led to a hernia creation.
Orchitis is the inflammation of the testicle. It causes pain and swelling and can be the result of untreated epididymitis. As with epididymis infection, orchitis may be due to an untreated STD, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. The pain is very intense and usually makes people look for immediate medical care. When orchitis is due to an STD or another urinary tract infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Sometimes, viruses can also lead to orchitis. In such a case, treatment is supportive. Keep in mind that STDs spread through unprotected sex. If you recently engaged in unprotected sexual activity, get tested for an STD.
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency. It is the result of testicle rotation around the spermatic cord. Testicular torsion is more common in younger men and may present with some of the following:
- Severe testicular pain
- Scrotum that is more red or darker than usual
- Nausea or vomiting
- Significant swelling of the scrotum
Although the pain is usually sudden, some men experience it gradually. It is a medical emergency that, if not managed appropriately, may lead to the removal of the testicle. The first-line treatment for testicular torsion is surgery.
Testicles are very tender and sensitive. A blow on the testicles may lead to severe pain and bruising. They look swollen and may rupture, leading to hematocele, which is a collection of blood around the testicle. This pooling of blood applies pressure on it and may affect its normal blood flow. People who experienced such trauma, along with pain, swelling, and bruising, should refer to their doctor as soon as possible.
Tumor in the testicles
Testicular tumors may mimic other conditions that cause pain and swelling of the testicles. When men have a dull ache in the groin area or a lump in their scrotum, they might have a testicular tumor. The best thing to do is to consult your doctor and undergo further investigations.
Large or twisted veins, known as varicoceles, may also cause testicular pain. However, sometimes they do not cause any symptoms at all. When varicoceles are symptomatic, they cause testicular pain that worsens with activity or over the day. Varicoceles are not curable and may lead to infertility. The latest treatments are surgical.
How can you prevent testicular pain?
Sometimes you cannot prevent testicular pain, as in the case of testicular hernias or tumors, for example. However, there are some ways you can avoid some causes of testicular pain, such as trauma or epididymitis related to STDs. The following are some tips you can adapt to your daily life to prevent testicular pain:
- Do not practice unprotected sex. Use a condom instead.
- Perform regular screenings for STDs. You can do that alone at home with an STD rapid kit test.
- Wear athletic supporters to prevent testicular trauma during sports activities.
- Self-examine your testicles every couple of months to check for unusual lumps that weren't there before.
- Urinate frequently and empty your bladder. This way, you can prevent urinary tract infections. Holding your urine creates a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria.