Common Testicle Problems

There are various conditions, diseases and problems that can endanger the health of the testicles.

The testicles are a very delicate part of the male body. The testicles are two oval shaped organs which are located below the penis. The scrotum is the pouch of skin that houses the testicles. When a male reaches puberty, the testicles become able to produce sperm allowing the fertilization of a female egg. As you can see, healthy testicles are important for successful reproduction.

There are four maladies that can have a negative and painful affect on a man's testicles:

Epididymitis - this condition is caused by an inflamed epididymis. The epididymis is the tube that carries sperm from the testicle to the penis. If the swelling also affects the testicle, then the condition is known as epididymo-orchitis. Some of the symptoms include severe pain, fever, and a swollen area on the private parts that may feel hot to the touch.

This condition is more common in childhood than in later years. However, it has been known to occur in adults. Most often, in adult males, it occurs because of a viral or bacterial infection. Epididymitis can also occur following a vasectomy or sexual contact. A urine test is necessary to diagnose the condition. It can take several months for epididymitis to go away.

Hydrocele - this condition is caused by a build-up of fluid around the pouch surrounding the testicles. This build-up occurs for a number of reasons, most commonly from injury or following an infection. The result is a swollen scrotum. It's usually painless, but the swelling can be quite large.

It's not a common condition, but athletes should be careful to protect the groin. A doctor will be able to diagnose this condition following an examination.

Testicular Cancer - this form of cancer affects the testicles. Some major symptoms are: a lump in one or both testicles, enlarged testicles, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum and penis, an ache in the abdomen or groin. Like breast cancer, testicular cancer causes little pain in the early stages and the first sign is usually a small lump. Testicular cancer can also be benign.

Testicular cancer is most common among men between the ages of 20 - 35. Testicular cancer isn't common, but occurrences have increased in recent years. The cause is unknown, but men born with undescended testicles (testicles that don't move into the scrotum before birth) or that suffer from fertility problems are at high risk.

Testicular cancer can't be prevented, but regular examinations should be performed for early detection. If cancer is present and isn't benign, then the testicle(s) will have to be removed. If diagnosed early, most patients can be helped before the cancer spreads.

Testicular Torsion - this is an extremely painful condition. The testicles are suspended into the scrotum by a spermatic cord. If the spermatic cord becomes twisted, it cuts off the blood supply to the testicles. The symptoms are extreme pain, swelling, vomiting, nausea, and fever.

The risk is low, but it's most common in young boys. There are no known causes, and it can't be prevented. It is urgent that a doctor be consulted immediately. If the spermatic cord remains twisted for too long, the lack of blood supply can severely damage the testicle. An operation must be performed to untwist the cord.

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