5 Common Causes of Testicular Pain

Have you been experiencing pain in your gonads and just don’t know why? Maybe there's a sudden flare-up, a sharp pain, and you’re really worried that something might be seriously wrong.

Many men experience symptoms of acute testicular pain, but being men, often prefer to hide it from others – and themselves. Some men secretly visit a physician to have their testicles diagnosed.

It’s not exactly a conversation most men want to have with… anyone. I mean, just imagine bringing up the topic – and the smirks your mates or girlfriend try in vain to hide from you.

Well, it’s time to face your ordeal and do something about it. And since we are always willing to help, we’ve put together this guide as to what might be causing the problem and provide some useful suggestions.

Testicular pain can be caused by a number of conditions. The most common are: 

  • Inguinal Hernia
  • Testicular Torsion
  • Testicular Trauma
  • Testicular Tumour
  • Kidney Stones

 

Cause #1: Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias happen when abdominal contents force their way through the abdomen’s muscular wall. This, in turn, results in fatty tissue and the small intestine protruding into the groin and exerting pressure on the scrotal sack.

This pressure produces a dull, aching sensation during physical exertion – or even just when standing up and sitting down.

While grooming your balls you should take some time to inspect your balls and groin for anything that may look abnormal. The pressure caused by Inguinal Hernia will cause your balls to look swollen or larger than normal.

How soon symptoms become apparent – and how much pain you experience – will depend on how big or serious the hernia is. That is to say, the more abdominal present in your scrotal sack, the more the pain.

Treatment for smaller cases of Inguinal Hernia consists of massaging and manipulating the organs in the scrotal sack so as to gently push the intruding contents back into the abdomen. When this treatment is unable to provide permanent relief, other medical therapies, even surgery, will be necessary.

 

When should you worry about it?

This should be pretty obvious. You should visit a physician if and as soon as the pain becomes intolerable.

Severe pain could be the result of strangulation of the abdominal content. The strangulation, in turn, can negatively impact or even cut off the supply of blood to your scrotum. You may require immediate surgery to save your balls.

 

Cause #2: Sudden Testicular Torsion

This describes a condition in which the spermatic cord spins and a gonad has been twisted. The result can be partial or total interruption of blood supply to your scrotum and balls. This in turn, can cause your scrotum to swell and produce intense pain.

Besides the pain, you’ll notice that your balls are bigger than normal and have become very sensitive.

Testicular torsion can happen to any man, no matter his age. It is, however, more common among men aged 12 to 25.

You may be suffering from Testicular Torsion if:

  • Your balls are larger than normal– the average size of men’s balls is 3cm to 5cm long and 2cm to 3cm wide.
  • Your balls are hanging too loosely – this is known as Bell-Clapper Deformity.
  • You have suffered some trauma resulting in some testicular injury. 

Other symptoms, aside from the pain, include:

  • Swollen ball sack
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • A ball that hangs much higher than normal
  • Nausea and vomiting

 

When should you worry about it?

Testicular torsion is a condition that requires prompt medical treatment. The affected gonad needs to have its blood supply restored.

If you experience sharp, intolerable pain in your balls that medication cannot treat, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Don't wait and hope it goes away!

Surgery will be necessary – and fast. If you don’t get this condition treated within six hours, that lack of blood supply to your ball will lead to cell death, and you’ll lose the ball!

 

Cause #3: Testicular Trauma

OK, we’ve all suffered from pain down there when struck or crushed by some object. We’re sure you have no problem recalling what that feels like.

Testicular trauma, however, results in immediate and excruciating pain and is the third leading cause of testicular suffering. The seriousness of this condition depends on how much injury has been done to the testicle(s).

Beside your testicles, other organs in your scrotal sack that can be affected by trauma are:

  • Vas deferens
  • Spermatic cord
  • Testicular appendage
  • Lymphatic vessels 

If any of these organs are affected by the trauma, the consequences will be more severe.

There are four common types of traumatic injury to the testicles depending on the cause of injury.

Testicular Traumatic Injuries

Cause

Testicular rupture

A testicle is injured when the protective layer of the gonad tears.

Testicular contusion

A bruise or a blow to the testicle that ruptures internal blood vessels

Testicular torsion

A testicle is twisted.

Testicular dislocation

One or two balls are dislocated out of the ball sack.

 

If you’ve suffered some injury to your balls and pain relievers have not helped, you really need to visit a physician as soon as possible. A specialist will know how to diagnose and treat the injury and the pain.

When should you worry about it?

Your balls deserve attention, especially after incurring injury. But you should pay special attention if:

  • Your balls continue to ache hours after the injury.
  • One or both balls swell and remain swollen.
  • Simple movements cause serious pain. 

Get a medical appointment as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and advice on what to do.

 

It might be preferable -and even useful – if you shave your balls before seeing a physician. This will make an examination – and a diagnosis – easier.

 

Cause # 4: Testicular Cancer

The American Cancer Society has established that testicular cancer will afflict approximately one man out of 250 in the course of their lives. The good news is the survival rate when the cancer is diagnosed early: 96–99%.

At this point, you might seriously consider making a donation to The American Cancer Society toward finding a cure for cancer.

Testicular cancer is most prevalent in younger men aged 15 to 35. It affects 8% of men aged over 55 and 6% of male children.

The testicular pain caused by tumours is regarded as a “late early warning” sign.

If you’re experiencing testicular pain, try to recall whether you have – or have had – one or more of these early warning signs before you began to feel pain:

  • Your balls have felt heavy.
  • You noticed that your gonads have been slowly changing in shape and size.
  • Your balls have become thick or look swollen.
  • You’ve noticed that one of your balls seems unusually firm that there’s something hard in it even though you haven’t had any pain.

That all might seem a lot to keep in mind, but your balls are worth the effort (after all, what would you do without them?). If you frequently inspect your balls, you’ll notice changes in how they look and feel.

Check out this guide on inspecting your balls.


When should you worry about it?

If you feel something like a hard or firm lump in your balls, you should get help immediately. It might seem that the hard mass is located next to a testicle or that you can’t feel a difference between the lump and your testicle.

It doesn’t matter whether the mass is painful – you still need to have a medical professional look at it. Blood tests and imaging exams should be able to exclude cancer as the cause.

 

Cause #5: Acute or Chronic Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formed when salts and minerals gather and form a crystalline mass in your kidney. They can be as small as a single grain and as large as a golf ball.

Kidney stones are often so small that they exit with urine unnoticed. Others get so big that they can cause pain in the testicles when certain risk factors are present.

Here is a list of typical risk factors you should pay attention to so that you can determine if an otherwise uncomplicated kidney stone could be the cause of the pain you’re feeling.

Kidney Stone Risk Factor

What could lead to a Testicular Tumour

Diet

Too much sodium, protein and sugar.

Obesity

The resulting imbalance in metabolism causes the body to retain an excess of minerals.

Insufficient water consumption

Minerals and salts in the body remain undiluted.

Recurring bacterial infection to the urinary tract

Production of enzymes that lower the acidity of urine and allow crystals to form.

 

Kidney stones that move about and touch the walls of your kidney or ureter can cause a great deal of pain in your lower abdomen and testicles.

The pain in your testicles is called ‘referred pain’. This means that the pain is actually arising in other areas of your urinary tract, but because your testicles share nerves with them, they are also affected.

The following symptoms could indicate that the pain in your testicles is a result of kidney stones.

  • It burns when you urinate.
  • You need to urinate too frequently.
  • The edge of your penis hurts.
  • You notice some blood in the urine.
  • You experience cramps in your groin and the pain spreads to your back.

 

When should you worry about it?

If you notice any of the symptoms above, or if passing urine causes extreme pain in the testicles, you’ll need to take action.

There are several treatments for kidney stones. It mostly depends on just how big they are. Whereas smaller crystals can be treated without surgery, larger stones may require an operation.

Here are some principles you should keep in mind to prevent permanent damage to your balls.

When your balls hurt, it hurts everywhere. 

Testicular pain should be a serious cause for concern because it affects how your balls function.

So, seek medical advice if you experience testicular pain – the sooner the better.

Regularly inspect your balls and groin. This will let you detect abnormalities early and let you do something about it before things get serious.

Remember – healthy balls are happy balls!