Testicle pain (testicular pain) is pain that occurs in or around one or both testicles. Sometimes testicle pain actually originates from somewhere else in the groin or abdomen, and is felt in one or both testicles (referred pain).
Testicle pain has a number of possible causes. The testicles are very sensitive, and even a minor injury can cause testicle pain or discomfort. Testicle pain might arise from within the testicle itself or from the coiled tube and supporting tissue behind the testicle (epididymis).
Sometimes, what seems to be testicle pain is caused by a problem that starts in the groin, abdomen or somewhere else — for example, kidney stones and some hernias can cause testicle pain. The cause of testicle pain can't always be identified.
Causes of testicle pain or pain in the testicle area can include:
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes)
- Drug side effect, such as certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs
- Epididymitis (testicle inflammation)
- Gangrene (specifically, a type of gangrene called Fournier's gangrene)
- Henoch-Schonlein purpura (blood vessel inflammation)
- Hydrocele (fluid buildup that causes swelling of the scrotum)
- Idiopathic testicular pain (unknown cause)
- Inguinal hernia
- Kidney stones
- Orchitis (inflamed testicle)
- Scrotal masses
- Spermatocele (fluid buildup in the testicle)
- Testicle injury or blow to the testicles
- Testicular cancer
- Testicular torsion (twisted testicle)
- Undescended testicle (also called cryptorchidism)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
When to see a doctor
Sudden, severe testicle pain can be a sign of testicular torsion — a twisted testicle that can quickly lose its blood supply. This condition requires immediate medical treatment to prevent loss of the testicle. Testicular torsion can occur in males of any age, although it is more common in adolescents.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
- Sudden, severe testicle pain
- Testicle pain accompanied by nausea, fever, chills or blood in your urine
Schedule a doctor's visit if you have:
- Mild testicle pain lasting longer than a few days
- A lump or swelling in or around a testicle
These measures might help relieve mild testicle pain:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), unless your doctor has given you other instructions. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
- Support the scrotum with an athletic supporter. Use a folded towel for support and elevation when you're lying down.