Swollen testicles

Swollen testicles or lumps in your testicles can be worrying and sometimes painful.

By Wallace Health I Medically reviewed by Adrian Roberts.
Page last reviewed: October 2018 I Next review due: October 2021

Summary

Testicular lumps and swellings are quite common and can affect males of any age.

A swollen testicle or a lump in your testicle isn’t usually a sign of a serious condition. However, it can cause testicular pain should always be checked by your GP as it can be a symptom of an underlying condition. In most cases, testicular lumps and swellings can be successfully treated.

Causes of swollen testicles

Common causes of swollen, enlarged testicles include:

  • Varicoceles – enlarged veins in the scrotum, the loose pocket of skin surrounding your testicles
  • Hydrocele – a build-up of fluid inside the scrotum which can affect newborn male babies, boys and, most commonly, men over the age or 40
  • Epididymo-orchitis – painful inflammation of the testicle and epididymis (the coil where sperm’s stored), which can be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), urinary tract infection (UTI) or, in boys, mumps
  • Inguinal hernia - a painful swelling in the groin area which is eight times more likely to affect men than women
  • Chlamydia – a common sexually transmitted bacterial infection (STI) which is usually passed on by having unprotected sex

If you’re experiencing agonising testicle pain, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and your scrotum is swollen and tender, call 999 immediately. You may have a testicular torsion (twisted testicle), a very serious condition that’s most common in young males aged 10–20.

Most lumps in testicles are epididymal cysts, which are most likely to develop when you’re middle-aged. An epididymal cyst is a small swelling in the epididymis which can cause testicle pain and a sensation of heaviness.

A swelling or lump on a testicle is the most common symptom of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is rare and is most likely to affect men in their early 30s. If you spot any change in the look or feel of your testicles, see your GP as soon as possible.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

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Getting a diagnosis for swollen testicles

If you have a lump in your testicles, an enlarged testicle or a sore testicle, make an appointment with your GP.

Your GP will examine your testicles and may shine a light onto your scrotum to check for excess fluid. If your GP suspects you have a hernia, they may ask you to cough. Your GP may also refer you for other investigations, such as blood tests, urine tests or an ultrasound scan.

Following diagnosis, your GP may refer you to a consultant, such as a urologist, or to a genito-urinary medicine clinic.

Treatments for swollen testicles

At home

If the swelling or lump isn’t causing you any problems or testicle pain, treatment may not be required. Warm baths may help reduce swollen testicles. In addition, taking over-the-counter painkillers and wearing supportive underpants may relieve testicle pain.

Prescribed treatments

The treatment your GP or consultant recommends will depend on the cause of the lump or swelling affecting your testicle. If you’re diagnosed with a serious condition, such as testicular cancer, your doctor will arrange the necessary treatment. If an infection is causing your enlarged testicle or your sore testicle, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Surgery

If you have troublesome varicoceles, your doctor may suggest surgery to reduce the swelling or remove the affected veins. A hydrocele can be surgically drained while an inguinal hernia can be repaired with a straightforward surgical procedure. Occasionally, surgery may be recommended to remove the lump on a testicle caused by an epididymal cyst.

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