Hydroceles and 6 Other Common Testicle Issues
Directing a show as complex and intricate as a sex life can be a difficult task. Yes, it’s essential to look after the needs and health of the “leading man,” but the “supporting cast” is an equally important part of the lineup. Without them, the headliner can fall flat.
Seven common testicle issues can have a profound impact on your sex life. Find out more about each so you can recognize and hopefully avoid them.
This is a relatively benign, occasionally alarming-looking, testicular condition, in which fluid collects around a testicle. However, hydroceles can build up to the point of discomfort or pain if they grow large enough, in which case, you need to seek medical advice.
Hydroceles can develop due to trauma or injury, but often have no known cause.
This is a common affliction that affects around 600,000 males, mostly between ages 15 and 35, each year in America.
The epididymis is a long, coiled, tube-like structure in the scrotum where sperm mature. It can become infected or inflamed, resulting in epididymitis. The underlying cause can be sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or, more commonly, injury or trauma, such as from a vasectomy. Another cause can be urine that backwashes into the epididymis during heavy physical straining or lifting.
Epididymitis symptoms range from mild irritation to intense pain, swelling and fever.
Another common problem for men are varicoceles, a condition in which the veins above the testicles dilate and swell. The name comes from the same stem as “varicose veins,” which should give you an idea of how they appear.
The condition is mostly benign and affects as many as 20 percent of men. However, a varicocele can occasionally cause fertility issues, so if you notice a bulge above your testicles, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
Testicular torsion is a dangerous condition that can result in the loss of a testicle and requires immediate medical attention.
Torsion means twisting, and that’s just what happens. The testicle rotates and the spermatic cord that provides blood flow to the organ becomes kinked, similar to what you might see in a garden hose. This effectively cuts off blood supply.
Boys between the ages of 12 and 18 account for 65 percent of cases, though testicular torsion can occur at any age. The condition is excruciating, so adolescents should be taught to speak up if they experience testicular pain, because immediate treatment for torsion is recommended. Avoiding any perceived embarrassment isn’t worth losing a testicle.
Cancer cells grow on the testicle painlessly and slowly, resulting in a hard lump that most men eventually discover themselves. If it’s found at an early stage and hasn’t spread, testicular cancer is almost always curable through an orchiectomy, or the removal of the affected testicle. This is why it’s important to check your testicles regularly for lumps or irregularities.
Even if the cancer has spread, though, the prognosis is generally good: Chemotherapy or radiation treatment will usually cure testicular cancer.
A hernia is often mistaken for a testicular problem. A groin (inguinal) hernia occurs due to a weakness in the muscle wall above the testicles. This weakness allows a portion of the intestine to bulge through, pushing its way into the scrotum, where it can be mistaken for a testicular issue.
The fix for a hernia is surgery to repair the damaged muscle.
Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicle due to infection. The infection can stem from an STI or untreated epididymitis. This condition can be quite debilitating, bringing on symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and testicular pain and swelling. Generally, the treatment for orchitis is to counteract the inciting infection with antibiotics and make the patient comfortable until it has cleared the body.
If you experience swelling or pain, or even if you only suspect a lump in your testicles, see a doctor right away. Quick medical intervention is key for successfully treating your testicles.