Swellings in the epididymis, the coiled tube inside the scrotum that stores and transports sperm
- More common over the age of 40
- Genetics and lifestyle are not significant factors
Epididymal cysts, or spermatoceles, are harmless fluid-filled sacs that form in the epididymis, which stores and transports sperm away from the testis. Small epididymal cysts are common, particularly in men over the age of 40. The cysts develop slowly and are usually painless.
In many cases, there are multiple cysts, which can be felt as distinct, painless swellings like a tiny bunch of grapes on top of and behind the testis. The epididymal tubes in both testes may be affected by cysts at the same time.
If you detect a swelling on one or both sides of your scrotum, you should consult your doctor to rule out a serious condition, such as cancer of the testis. He or she will probably be able to make a diagnosis from a physical examination, but further tests such as ultrasound scanning may be necessary.
Epididymal cysts normally remain small and do not need treatment. Rarely, they become large and cause discomfort, in which case they can be removed.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.