Swelling, redness, tingling … Pain in the testicles should never be taken lightly.
It’s not always easy to talk about her suffering, especially when it comes to the intimate. But in the face of testicular pain, it is better to get out of your mutism. Whether chronic or acute, they do require immediate medical attention, especially for young men. What are they due to? When should you worry?
Testicular torsion, a medical emergency
“In 90% of acute pain cases, it is a testicular torsion,” said the specialist. Following a movement, a shock or for unknown reasons, it can happen that the spermatic cord – containing in particular the blood vessels which irrigate the testicle – twists. The testicle hanging at its end is then deprived of blood and begins to necrose. We also speak of “testicular infarction”.
The sharp pain that occurs, sometimes accompanied by nausea, hypersensitivity of the organ or swelling, leaves no room for doubt as to the diagnosis. “Don’t waste time: go to the emergency room right away. If the testicle is not operated on within 6 hours, it is lost and will have to be removed, “warns Dr. Carnicelli. This phenomenon is far from isolated: it is estimated that around one in 4000 men will be affected by a testicular torsion in their life. If this can happen at any age, the majority of cases occur before the age of 25, according to the French Association of Urology.
Self-examination against cancer
In case of testicular pain, fear of cancer is never far away. However, “a tumor does not necessarily cause pain but rather a feeling of heaviness,” said the doctor. According to him, men should frequently palpate their testicles to watch for the appearance of a possible “stony ball”. But be careful not to see the evil everywhere: “Some patients come to consult because they believe they feel an abnormal lump when it is the epididymis (a structure located at the top of the testicle, note).” Cancer testicles is rare – around 2000 cases are identified each year in France – and is generally treated well if taken on time.
The pain can also be explained by an infection, sexually transmitted or not. “If the patient is under the age of 50, and one of his testicles is hard, large, hot and painful, he should go for a sexually transmitted infection like Chlamydia,” says Dr. Carnicelli. Orchitis (testicular infection) can also occur in mumps, or accompany other viral infections. With the right treatment, these annoyances never last long.
The complicated diagnosis of chronic pain
However, some men experience chronic pain. “We talk about chronic pain when it has lasted for more than three months, is intermittent or constant and has an impact on daily life.” And there, things get complicated. “The origin can be urological, rheumatological or postoperative, after a vasectomy for example. But in almost half of the cases, you never find the cause, “says the urologist.
For example, it can be varicocele, a disease that affects the veins of the testicles. “It manifests as a feeling of heaviness at the end of the day or after sport and affects especially the left testicle of young men,” said the doctor, stressing that there can be an impact on fertility. Testicular pain can also be caused by a kidney stone or have a neuropathic origin, as in inguinal hernia.
In all cases, solutions exist. So do not hesitate to talk to your doctor so as not to risk a delayed diagnosis which could be fatal for fertility capital!