Testicular lump should be taken seriously. It is caused by injury or some other underlying medical condition. The lump can form on one or on both the testicles. Any boy or a man of any age can get lump on their testicles.
Testicles or testes are male reproductive organs which produce hormone testosterone and sperms. They are egg shaped mass hanging in sacs called scrotum under both sides of penis. Lumps are unnatural growth. They are also called scrotal Lumps.
Most testicular lumps subside on their own without requiring any treatment. These benign lumps can cause swelling, pain and discomforts. But some lumps can be malignant causing cancer. Testicular cancer is treatable, therefore if you see any hard lump on your testicle then immediately consult your doctor.
Some Scrotal Lumps can Come and Go
Sometimes you may observe that your lump appears and disappears often leaving you wondering as to why. Don't feel shy to visit your doctor. In some cars hernia can be the cause of your testicular lumps. These kinds of lumps can come and go as part of the lower intestine protrudes even lower.
In most of such cases surgery is required to fix the hernia and your testicular lump resolves on its own. Depending on the severity you may require longer or shorter hospitalization.
Irrespective of the cause of the lump you will get some or more of the following symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Lumps
The very first noticeable sign of lump on your testicle is swelling.
However, some types of lumps may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, a lump caused by infection does cause pain, tenderness and swelling.
If you feel 3-4 or more of the following symptoms then consider it a medical emergency
- Abdominal pain
- Tenderness in breasts
- Fluid in testicles
- Severe pain
Such symptoms are either caused by testicular torsion which is a medical emergency requiring surgery, and tenderness in the breasts is a warning sign if possible testicular cancer. So do not ignore it in either case.
Main Causes of Different Types of Testicular Lumps
There are a number of causes of lumps on testicles. Most common ones are listed below.
- Hydrocele - These kinds of lumps are generally formed in babies. Roughly 2 percent of newly born babies get fluid in the testicles causing a lump which may be painful. Premature babies have higher risks of fluid buildup in their testicles. In most cases hydrocele resolves on its own before the age of 2. However, some rare cases of hydrocele require surgery.
- Varicocele - This is one of the most common forms of lump in the testicles. 10-15% of male population may have this kind of lump and may not be even aware as it generally doesn't cause any symptoms. At most you might feel the affected testicle heavier than the other. It might happen at any age, but it becomes more noticeable in late teens and after when the blood flow increases.
- Spermatocele -A spermatocele (testicular cyst or epididymal cyst) occurs in the epididymis which is the long tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle. It gets filled with fluid that can not be drained. The cyst may contain sperm which die in the unfriendly environment created by the cyst. It is a smooth firm lump in the scrotum on top of the testicle. It is generally painless and gets resolved on its own.
- Epididymitis - Like spermatocele Epididymis also occurs in the epididymis, the long coiled tube located at the back of the testicles that stores and carries sperm. The difference here is that it is an inflammation of epididymis. It can cause pain and swelling in the testicles. Epididymitis generally affects between the age of 15-35 but can affect men of all ages. Epididymitis is caused by different factors depending on your age and behavior.Urinary tract infections is one of the main causes of Epididymitis in young children. In adult and sexually active men, it is often linked to Sexually transmitted infection generally can cause epididymis in exualy active adults and enlargement of the prostate gland can be the main reason in old age.
- Hernia - This is not directly related to your testicles, but it does cause lump or swelling on testicles in some cases. In such cases hernia surgery is the only treatment and it is very effective. All hernia cases do not affect testicles.
- Testicular Torsion - It generally occurs in the younger ages. It may also occur at any age due to injury. Testicular torsion cuts off the blood supply to the testicles so it is a dangerous condition. It occurs when the spermatic cord on which the testicle is suspended gets twisted. This leads to a rapid onset of severe testicular pain and swelling. The testicle may climb higher than their usual position. You may get nausea and vomiting.
Testicular torsion is an emergency condition. Testicular torsion is most common between ages 12 and 16, but it can occur at any age, even before birth.
Surgery is required to cut in your scrotum to get to the twisted cord and untangle it from the testicle then restitch your testicle with the scrotum. Generally the other testicle will be altered in the same way to prevent future problems.
- Testicular Cancer - Testicular cancer, compared with other types of cancer is highly treatable. Testicular cancer is rare but it generally occurs in males between the ages of 15 and 35. You may feel a lump in the scrotum and a dull ache in the abdomen. If you also feel tenderness in your breasts and pain in your back then all these combined symptoms are telling signs of testicular cancer.Most of the testicular cancers are treated 100% particularly when diagnosed in early stages. Even if the testicular cancer is spread beyond testicles, it is still curable completely.
Once you visit your doctor with any of the above types of lumos, your doctor will suggest certain diagnostic tests to find out the exact nature of the testicular lump to give you the right kind of Treatment.
These tests may include one or more of the following
- Blood tests for infections
- Screening tests for sexually transmitted diseases if any
- Biopsy to check for cancer
Precautions and Tips
The best way is to periodically do self examination of your testicles. If any abnormality is found then you must check it out with a doctor. You should particularly be more careful after an injury when testicular torsion is very likely to occur. This is a medical emergency. Untreated testicular torsion can cause infertility and it can even be fatal.
Testicular lumps can cause unnecessary mental stresses in addition to the pain and swelling that is already present. It is important to take the following precautions.
- Visit your doctor, don't depend on self diagnosis
- Check with your doctor even if your swelling has subsided
- Get alerted, if you see any abnormal shape or position change in your testicles
- Maintain good hygiene in your private parts
All these precautions and regular check ups can help you to deal with all kinds of lumps on the testicles including cancerTesticular cancer is treatable and you can lead a normal life.