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Testes and Scrotum Problems

Regular self-examination (see Examining your testes) is important to detect lumps and swellings in the testes (the sperm-producing organs) and the scrotum (the sac in which the testes lie). The cause may be minor, but there is a possibility of cancer of the testis. Painful swelling in the genital area requires immediate medical attention.

  • What is the nature of your symptoms?

    • Pain and swelling

      Does the problem affect one or both testes?

      • One
        • Possible cause Torsion of the testis may be the cause of pain and swelling in one testis. A less serious possible cause is epididymo-orchitis.

          Medical help EMERGENCY! Dial 999/112 and ask for an ambulance.

      • Both

        Have you had an injury in the genital area within the past 48 hours?

        • Injury
          • Possible cause Internal damage to the testes is a possibility.

            Medical help URGENT! Phone your doctor immediately!

        • No injury
          • Possible cause Epididymo-orchitis, which may be due to a sexually transmitted infection or a viral infection such as mumps, may be causing your symptoms.

            Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours.

    • Painless enlargement in or near testis
      • Possible cause An epididymal cyst is the probable cause of your symptoms. However, there is a possibility that you have cancer of the testis.

        Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • Generalized painless swelling of the scrotum
      • Possible cause Accumulation of fluid in the scrotum (see Hydrocele), varicose veins in the scrotum (see Varicocele), or an inguinal hernia (see Hernias) are the most likely causes of your symptoms. However, there is a possibility that you may have cancer of the testis.

        Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • None of the above
      • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your testes or scrotum problem from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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