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October 21, 2015

Testicular Pain: Causes and Symptoms - Isabel Healthcare

Testicle pain or testicular pain occurs around one or both testicles.  Testicle pain can also originate from elsewhere in the abdomen or groin, but the pain is felt in one or both testicles. The testicles are the male sex organs and are very sensitive, with even a minor injury causing a lot of pain.

Causes of Testicular Pain - Isabel Symptom Checker

In a 17-29-year-old male experiencing testicular pain the following problems should be considered in partnership with your medical professional to decide on what the cause of action should be.


Testicular torsion

This condition occurs when the testicle twists spontaneously within the scrotum.  This leads to a decrease in blood flow to the testicle as the spermatic cord twists, cutting off the blood supply to the testicle. The reduced blood flow causes sudden and often severe pain and swelling.   If the blood supply is cut off for too long then the testicle will suffer permanent damage.  Symptoms of testicular torsion include acute onset or intermittent testicular pain, scrotal swelling and scrotal redness. Testicular torsion is marked as a red flag diagnosis within the Isabel symptom checker as it constitutes a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention via surgery to prevent damage.  Testicular torsion is most common in males younger than 30 years of age with a peak incidence between 12-18 years of age. It has also occurred frequently in the neonatal period.

Testicular cancer

The most common symptom is a lump or swelling in one of the testicles.  Other symptoms include an intermittent dull ache or sharp pain in the testicles or scrotum, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, or a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum called a hydrocele.  Testicular cancer may just occur with a painless testicular mass.  Any testicle lump should be fully investigated.


This is caused by inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) located at the back of the testicle which stores and carries sperm.  Its most often caused by a bacterial infection including sexually transmitted infections.  Symptoms can include a swollen and red scrotum, testicle pain, painful urination, penile discharge and painful ejaculation.


This is a sac filled with fluid which forms around a testicle.  They can occur in babies but also males of any age.  The majority of the time they are painless and the only sign may be a swollen scrotum or heaviness in the scrotum.  In babies the hydrocele may go away on its own, in adult males if a hydrocele occurs then surgery may be required.

Inguinal hernia

These are common and often cause scrotal or testicular discomfort.  Symptoms include a bulge in the scrotum that may become pronounced with coughing or straining, a dull ache or burning sensation in the scrotum or testicles.

When is testicular pain an emergency?

  • Sudden, severe testicle pain should always be seen as a medical emergency because if a testicular torsion is suspected then immediate medical treatment must be given.
  • Any testicle pain accompanied by nausea, fever, or blood in your urine should also receive immediate medical attention.

If you have mild testicle pain which has lasted longer than a few days or have a lump or swelling around the testicle, then schedule an appointment with your doctor.  In the interim these self-care measures may help.

  • Take over the counter pain relievers
  • Support the scrotum with an athletic supporter or use a folded towel for support when lying down

Before your consultation with your doctor, think about the following questions they may ask you.

  • Can you describe your testicular pain?  Is it dull ache or a stabbing sharp pain?  
  • How long have you had the pain?  Did it occur quickly or have you had it awhile?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you had any injury or trauma to the groin area?
  • Did the pain start spontaneously or whilst you were actively working or exercising?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Take a look at the Isabel Symptom Checker to find out more about the causes of testicular pain:



Mandy Tomlinson

Mandy Tomlinson

Mandy has worked for Isabel Healthcare since 2000. Prior to this, she was a Senior Staff Nurse on the Pediatric Infectious disease ward and high dependency unit at one of London's top hospitals, St Mary’s in Paddington which is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Her experience in the healthcare industry for the past 28 years in both the UK and USA means she's a vital resource for our organization. Mandy currently lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.


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