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Geoffrey

I have had an ache in my left testicle for about a month now...

I have had an ache in my left testicle for about a month now, I was examined by my doctor and he is sending me for a ultrasound. Have I any reason to be concerned?

20 March 2021

Thank you for contacting us with your question.

Aching testicles can happen for a number of different reasons and your doctor is right to send you for a scan. This will help them to diagnose the underlying cause of your testicle pain. The testicle ache or the pain can affect men at any age, and it can vary from being mild to severe. The pain can affect one testicle, like in your case, or both testicles. Sometimes the pain can spread to the lower abdomen. Some other symptoms can be present alongside the pain itself.

If you are experiencing severe testicle pain, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, please call 999 immediately. You may have testicular torsion (twisted testicle), a very serious medical condition that requires immediate hospital intervention.

That said, testicular pain is not usually a reason to worry - the testicles are very sensitive and even the smallest of issues can give rise to testicular aching or discomfort. 

What can cause aching or pain in the testicle?

The source of the ache can arise from inside the testicle itself or from the tube and supporting tissue behind the testicle which is known as the epididymis.

Some of the most common separate causes of testicular aching or pain are:

  • Epididymo-orchitis – painful inflammation of the testicle and epididymis (the tube that sperm passes through after production in the testes), which can be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), urinary tract infection (UTI), mumps or sometimes the cause is unknown
  • Epididymal cysts - a build-up of fluid called a hydrocele, which causes scrotal swelling
  • Enlarged veins in the scrotum, called varicoceles
  • Kidney stones
  • Inguinal hernias, where a loop of bowel tissue descends into the testicular region
  • A twist to the testicle, known as torsion – as above, if you are experiencing severe testicle pain, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, please call 999 immediately. You may have testicular torsion (twisted testicle), a very serious medical condition that requires immediate hospital intervention.
  • Any type of minor injury to the testicle.

There are other possible causes of testicular aches such as inflammation of the prostate, but they are less commonplace.

The ultrasound scan you are having is a painless procedure and should help your doctor to detect the presence of fluid, inflammation or any hernia in the area and give information on the general health of your testicles.

Once your investigation scan is done, your doctor will be able to decide on the best treatment for your current symptoms. Please try not to be concerned as most of the cases can be resolved with the appropriate treatment.

We do hope you will find this information useful and we wish you well with your investigations and any subsequent treatment if required.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

References

NHS, 2021. Testicular cancer symptoms. (Accessed 6 March 2021)

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