Ask the Doc: Why are my testicles sore?


Why are my testicles sore?


Testicular pain can be caused by a number of things.

Some of the possible causes of testicular pain include inflammation (the body’s response to infection or injury) of the epididymis (epididymitis) or prostate (prostatitis), build-up of fluid (hydrocele) or swelling of blood vessels in the scrotum (varicocele). Sometimes testicular pain originates somewhere else in the body, like the kidneys (if you have kidney stones) or is caused by the nerves that innervate the scrotum and testes. A more serious but much less common cause can be cancer. 

If you have sudden onset severe pain within your scrotum you should seek help immediately because you might have testicular torsion. This happens when one of the testes rotates within the scrotum, cutting off its blood supply, and requires surgery to correct the problem. If surgery is performed within 6 hours after the pain begins, the testis can be saved but if surgery is delayed the testis can die.

Your doctor will ask questions about the location of the pain, how long you’ve had it for, and the effect that the pain is having on your day-to-day life. They’ll probably look at your scrotum for signs of what’s causing the pain. Your doctor might refer you for an ultrasound examination to look at the contents of the scrotum. 

Find out more about how to do a testicular self-examination here: 

A/Prof Tim Moss

Tim Moss

Biomedical research scientist

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.


Testicle pain
Testicular pain

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