A testicle lump is a swelling or mass in one or both testicles.
A testicular lump that doesn’t hurt may be a sign of cancer. Most cases of testicular cancer occur when men are between ages 15 and 40, although it can happen at older or younger ages.
Here are some possible causes of a painful testicle:
- Injury or trauma
- Infection of the scrotal sac
- Orchitis (testicular infection)
- Testicular torsion
- Testicular cancer
- Spermatocele (a cyst-like mass within the scrotum that contains fluid and dead sperm cells)
- Varicocele (a varicose vein along the spermatic cord)
Here are some possible causes if the testicle is not painful:
- Testicular cancer
- Hydrocele (fluid collection in the scrotum)
- Loop of bowel from a hernia
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider right away if you notice any unexplained lumps or any other changes in your testicles.
What to expect at your health care provider’s office
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination, which may include inspecting and palpating the testicles and scrotum, and ask questions about the lump, such as:
- When did you notice the lump?
- Have you had any previous lumps?
- Is there any pain?
- Does the lump change in size?
- Is only one testicle involved?
- Exactly where on the testicle is the lump?
- Have you had any recent injuries or infections?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- Is there scrotal swelling?
- Do you have abdominal pain?
- Do you have any lumps or swelling elsewhere?
- Have you ever had surgery on your testicles or in the area?
- Were you born with both testicles in the scrotum?
Diagnostic tests depend on the results of the physical examination.
- For a lump caused by orchitis or epididymitis, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
- For a lump caused by mumps, consult your doctor for medication while the disease runs its course.
- For a lump caused by testicular torsion, see your health care provider immediately! This emergency condition is very painful and requires prompt surgical correction.
- For a lump caused by cancer, radiation, and chemotherapy are treatment options.
- For a lump caused by a herniated loop of bowel, surgery may be recommended.
- For a lump caused by spermatocele, hydrocele, or varicocele, consult your health care provider about medication and surgical options.
Starting in puberty, men at risk for testicular cancer should examine their testicles on a regular basis. This includes men with a family history of testicular cancer, men who have had a previous testicular tumor, or men with an undescended testicle. These men should perform a testicular self exam each month, so that a testicular mass can be detected early. A lump on the testicle may be the first sign of testicular cancer.
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.