The scrotal sac contains your testicles, which are responsible for the production and housing of sperm. The swelling of the testicles or scrotal swelling refers to the enlargement of either one or both testicles. This can happen as a result of an injury or because of an underlying medical condition.
The swelling can be painless, or it can be very painful and appear suddenly. Painful swelling needs immediate medical attention as the underlying cause could be serious. Without treatment, a serious condition could lead to the death of testicle tissue or the loss of a testicle.
One of the most common causes of testicle swelling is testicular torsion, which is when the spermatic cord becomes twisted, and blood supply is cut off from the testicles. But there are other medical conditions to consider.
Common causes or conditions associated with swollen testicles include:
♦ Inflammation caused by a bacterial infection can cause swelling as your immune system sends immune cells to attack the bacteria. Common bacterial infections include E.Coli, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus. The testicles will remain swollen as long as there is inflammation present.
♦ Fluid accumulation or a hydrocele can occur in the testicles, usually as the result of an injury. The presence of this fluid-filled sac causes pain in the testicle, along with swelling.
♦ Abnormal growths or structural abnormalities can interfere with blood flow to the testicles, causing pain and swelling.
♦ Hernias occur when soft tissue pushes through abdominal muscles, and they can be very painful. Depending on the size and location of the hernia in the groin, it can cause swelling in the testicles too.
♦ If the testicles are allowed to move too freely within the scrotum, they can become twisted. This is called testicular torsion, and it reduces blood supply to the tissues causing gangrene and eventual tissue death.
♦ Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis within the testicles. As this tube becomes inflamed, it causes swelling to the entire testicle and sometimes the scrotal sac.
♦ Testicular cancer or a tumor will cause swelling in the testicles as well as lumps that are easily identifiable through touch.
♦ Congestive heart failure can cause lymphatic obstructions in the body by way of compromised blood flow. When blood flow and lymph nodes in the groin become affected, you can experience swelling.
♦ Scrotal infection from viruses such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cause mass inflammation and swelling in the testicles as well as other tissues in the groin.
The enlargement of the scrotal sac is the most apparent symptom of swollen testicles. Additional symptoms may present themselves, depending on the underlying cause.
Inflammation almost always accompanies swelling, so you will notice tenderness and redness in the testicles and groin whenever swelling is present. Certain additional symptoms may present that indicate a more serious problem.
Should you notice testicle swelling along with any of these other symptoms, you need to seek immediate medical attention.
♦ A heavy feeling in the testicle
♦ Nausea and vomiting
♦ Pain during sexual intercourse
♦ Painful urination
♦ Penile discharge
♦ Pain with ejaculation
♦ Blood in the urine or semen
Your doctor will need to know all of the symptoms you have been experiencing, and when they appeared. They will conduct a physical examination to look for lumps and to determine if one or both testicles are affected.
Your doctor will need to know what you were doing before you noticed the swelling as well as your medical and family histories. Additional testing can include:
♦ A scrotal scan to look at the tissues and to identify any abnormalities in the testicles or scrotum. These scans may identify the presence of tumors as well.
♦ An ultrasound will also help the doctor determine if the swelling is caused by testicular torsion. This happens when the testicle becomes twisted and is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
♦ A rectal examination to check for prostate infections
♦ Urine samples to test for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea
♦ Blood tests to test for infections like HIV and syphilis
Treatment will depend on what caused the swelling. Your doctor can prescribe oral antibiotics to treat swelling caused by infections. In some cases, the infection is severe and also causes vomiting and high fever. If this happens, your doctor may admit you to the hospital for IV antibiotic treatment.
If you are sexually active, it is important to make sure all your partners are treated as well, and always practice protected sex to reduce transmission of infections.
There are also several remedies you can apply at home to relieve swelling in the testicles.
♦ Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications
♦ Application of ice packs to the affected testicle. Make sure the ice is wrapped and not applied directly to the testicle, and this should be done for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
♦ Elevate your scrotum with an athletic supporter cup or tight-fitting briefs
More serious causes of testicle swelling can have more invasive treatments. Testicular cancer is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy or surgery to remove tumors if present.
Testicular torsion requires immediate surgery and is most effective when done within 6 hours of the pain. In most cases, the testicles are attached to the scrotum after, to prevent torsion from recurring.
Swelling is almost always associated with inflammation. Inflammation increases blood flow to a specific area, and this results in swelling. Swollen testicles can be caused by a number of factors, some of which require medical attention.
You can reduce the inflammation naturally by incorporating the ingredients below:
♦ USPlus Saw Palmetto: Antioxidant compounds in this extract reduce inflammation and can protect testicles from chronic disease. It is also linked to reduced inflammation in the prostate. Prostatitis and enlarged prostates are commonly linked to swollen testicles as inflammation spreads through the urinary tract.
♦ Sunflower lecithin is made of fatty acids and is converted to choline in the body. Choline is important to overall health and has been linked to reduced inflammation.
♦ Carotenoids, such as lutein and beta-carotene, are also able to reduce inflammation. By interacting with certain enzymes, they inhibit the downstream production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Carotenoids can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables or taken as supplements to prevent inflammation.
Most causes of testicular swelling can be successfully treated if diagnosed early enough. The outlook will depend on the severity of the cause and how soon treatment is sought.
When an injury is the cause of swelling, the pain and swelling will go away, but other causes need more extensive treatment plans. Seek medical attention as soon as you notice swelling, and the outlook will be positive the earlier the cause is diagnosed and treated.