Disorders of the Testes, Scrotum, and Penis

Most of the male reproductive system – the penis, scrotum, and testes – is outside the abdomen. Consequently, symptoms of disorders in these structures are usually obvious at an early stage. Such symptoms should not be ignored out of embarrassment since most genital disorders can be cured by prompt treatment.

In this section, disorders that affect the epididymis (the coiled tube that carries sperm away from each testis) and the testes are described first. These disorders range from epididymal cysts, which are harmless collections of fluid, to cancer of the testis.

The next articles discuss disorders of the scrotum, the sac in which the testes are suspended. These disorders are usually not serious and include varicose veins in the scrotum, known as varicocele, and hydrocele, in which fluid collects around the testis.

Disorders caused by inflammation of the penis and foreskin are covered next, followed by two disorders of erectile function of the penis. The final article in this section discusses cancer of the penis, a very rare but distressing disorder that, if diagnosed early, responds well to treatment.

Skin conditions that may affect the penis and scrotum are discussed elsewhere (see Skin, hair, and nails), as are male hormonal disorders including abnormal puberty, sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, infertility, and sexually transmitted infections. Conditions that develop in the male genitals during childhood are covered in disorders of the urinary and reproductive systems (see Infancy and childhood).

Key anatomy

For further information on the structure and function of the testes, scrotum, and penis, see Sex and Reproduction.

Epididymal Cysts


Torsion of the Testis

Cancer of the Testis






Peyronie’s Disease

Cancer of the Penis

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.

Back to top