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Testicular Pain (Orchialgia)

Testicular pain at a glance

  • Testicular pain is indicated by general pain or discomfort, ranging from mild to severe, in and around a man’s testicles.
  • The cause of testicular pain, or orchialgia, isn’t always known, but more common causes include infections, trauma and surgical procedures such as a vasectomy.
  • The testicles are very sensitive and even minor injury can cause pain.
  • Treatments for testicular pain may involve medications, physical therapy, biofeedback and acupuncture.

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What is testicular pain?

Testicular pain, clinically referred to as orchialgia, is a common condition treated by urologists. Classified by general pain in and around the testicles, testicle pain levels range from mild to severely debilitating.

Testicular pain that lasts more than three months is known as chronic orchialgia. Discomfort does not always concentrate in the testicles – sometimes the entire scrotum, epididymis (the tube that connects the testicles to the vas deferens) or other close body parts in the groin area can become painful.

Preventive measures that men may take to avoid testicular pain include:

  • Wearing an athletic supporter during activities to protect the region from possible trauma
  • Practicing safe sex to prevent sexual transmitted infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Causes and symptoms of testicular pain

Testicular pain can be caused by numerous factors, such as infection in the testicles, trauma and surgical procedures. Because the testicles are sensitive, even minor injuries may induce testicular pain. Related conditions such as testicular torsion, epididymitis (testicle inflammation) or urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) present similar symptoms to those of orchialgia and require immediate medical treatment.

Other causes of testicular pain include:

  • Diabetic neuropathy – nerve damage due to diabetes
  • Gangrene – blood supply loss caused by infection
  • Kidney stones – pain from passing kidney stones may localize in the testicle region
  • Retractile testicle – a testicle that moves up inside the groin
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Hernia
  • Other conditions.

Sometimes, the exact cause of the pain in unknown, which is referred to as idiopathic testicular pain. Any man with testicular pain should visit a urologist to identity the cause, rule out other possible conditions and begin a treatment plan.

Symptoms of testicular pain will help guide a diagnosis and subsequent treatment. In cases of testicular torsion, the pain will emerge suddenly, while pain due to epididymitis usually starts mild and builds up gradually to moderate and severe. Testicular pain symptoms, aside from general pain in the testicles, may include swelling, nausea, fever and painful sex.

Treating testicular pain

Those experiencing mild to moderate testicular pain may try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, and icing the testicles to reduce pain and swelling. When testicular pain lasts for longer than a few days, or swelling occurs in the testicle, it’s important to schedule a visit to the doctor.

Treating chronic testicular pain may involve one or more of the following treatment paths:

  • Medications
  • Biofeedback
  • Physical therapy
  • Pelvic floor muscles strengthening exercises
  • Acupuncture.

If the cause of testicular pain is unidentifiable, medical treatment may involve antibiotics, scrotal support or surgery. Scrotal supports, also known as a cup, support the scrotum and may relieve swelling and associated pain. Surgical procedures for testicular pain attempt to reduce fluid buildup in and around the testicles.