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What if I have painful or swollen testicles?

Many things can cause painful or swollen testicles, including:

  • Fluid collecting in an area surrounding a testicle, a condition known as a hydrocele.
  • Infection, such as from a virus or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like chlamydia
  • Inguinal hernia. That's a condition in which a part of the intestines pushes into the groin or scrotum through an abnormal opening or a weak spot in the abdominal wall.
  • Injury to the testicles, such as from being kicked, hit, or crushed.
  • Swelling in a vein that drains blood away from a testicle, a condition called varicocele.
  • Testicular cancer.
  • Testicular torsion, an extremely painful condition that occurs when a testicle gets twisted.

If you think you have testicular torsion, see a doctor right away. This is a serious medical emergency.

If you notice any pain or swelling in or around your testicles, tell a parent and have it examined by a doctor as soon as possible. Many different types of testicle problems are linked to pain and swelling in the testicles. It's not always easy to tell which episode could lead to more serious problems if ignored. Play it safe and get checked.

Could I have testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs when cells in the testicle divide abnormally and form a tumor. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on a testicle. Other symptoms may include:

  • An enlarged or swollen testicle, with or without pain
  • A heavy, aching feeling in the lower stomach, low back, or groin

You should consider examining your testicles on a monthly basis and check for lumps. When examining the testicles, cup them with your hand and gently rub one testicle at a time between your thumb and pointer finger. Your testicles should feel oval and smooth. If you notice a hard lump, get checked by a doctor.

Keep in mind, the scrotum has other parts to it besides the testicles. You may feel small, squishy lumps of tubes. These tubes are the sperm tubes that connect your testicles to the rest of your body. These small bumps are normal. But anything that feels different than usual should be checked by a doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on October 22, 2013
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