As my boys grew up and got ready to head off to college, one by one, we scheduled ‘The Talk’ which was done over a steak dinner out, just the two of us, to their dread as the day approached. One of the important questions I asked them was what their most important possession was. The scratched their heads, thought seriously about a good answer, but only offered answers they somehow knew were inadequate. When I told them that the answer was their semen, it was an ahhaa moment for sure, and they knew their old Dad who didn’t know anything about anything actually came up with something worth thinking about. I didn’t leave my daughter out of this. The answer for her wasn’t her balls but was her eggs of course.
So for boys or men, what happens if the testicle starts hurting, gets swollen, or both. If pain and swelling occur suddenly, it could be a condition called testicular torsion. This is rare, but most common in the 12-18 year-old age group. However, it theoretically could occur at any age. This is an emergency as the testis twists, blocking the blood flow, and with the potential to cause damage and death to the testis rather quickly. If this is suspected, go to the emergency room immediately.
With pain and swelling which doesn’t occur as suddenly, if there is any doubt, still go for emergent care, but this could well represent epididymitis. This can also cause marked pain and swelling, but this is an infection of the epididymis, an organ that wraps around the back of the testis, and through which sperm leave the testis on the way out into the world. Antibiotics and warm soaks are the first line of treatment. See your primary care doctor or urologist as soon as possible. Las Vegas urologists such as Dr. Newman can help.
Our next blog will address testis conditions for which pain is a less common component.