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Testicle Swelling

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What is testicle swelling?

In cases of swollen testicles, many sexually active men assume it is a symptom of an STD. There are multiple reasons why the testicles may become swollen or inflamed.

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The causes of infectious and noninfectious causes of inflamed testicles include:

  • Orchitis - A condition, caused by one of many types of bacteria or viruses, in which one or both of the testicles are inflamed; can cause inflammation of the epididymis.
  • Epididymitis - Inflammation of the epididymis (the tube along the back of the testicle that carries and stores sperm). Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause epididymitis.
  • Injuries - Testicle injuries can lead to pain and swelling.
  • Inguinal hernia - A condition in which a portion of the intestines pushes through a gap or weakened area of tissue that separates the abdomen and inguinal region (groin). These hernias might look like a mass or lump in either the scrotum or higher up in the groin and can cause swelling of the testicles.
  • Testicular torsion - A painful condition in which the testicular sac becomes twisted or rotated, causing the blood flow from the spermatic cord to be cut off. Seek medical attention immediately, as the lack of blood flow and can quickly cause severe damage that might lead to the testicle(s) needed to be removed.
  • Spermatoceles - Cysts that form on the epididymis. They are benign fluid-filled sacs that are typically painless unless infected.
  • Testicular cancer presents itself as tumors. These lumps of abnormal testicular tissue can usually be felt in the scrotum, and can occasionally cause pain and/or swelling.
  • Hydrocele - A condition in which excess fluid accumulates in the space between the layers of the sac that surrounds each testicle. It can cause pain, redness and swelling and is typically caused by either an injury or infection.
  • Varicoceles - Enlarged veins that run alongside the spermatic cord in the scrotum. Often a varicocele is painless with no symptoms, but overtime it can cause impaired sperm production or, in rare cases, infertility since the widened vein(s) press against the spermatic cord.

Some of these conditions are very serious, so if you are experiencing pain or swelling in the testicles, seek emergency medical care. Even if there is no pain accompanying one or both swollen testicles, it is important to get examined (and treated if necessary) by a doctor to rule out cancer or to avoid complications of regular testicular function or the loss of one or both testicles.

Which STDs cause testicle swelling?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most commonly associated with testicle swelling, as well as a host of other symptoms. Chlamydia is the most commonly transmitted STD and is often a “co-infection” with gonorrhea. Both infections are easily treated with antibiotics and can even be treated with a single dose if the infections are caught early.