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Testicular pain: 7 main causes and what to do

Testicular pain is a symptom that can affect men of all ages and can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute pain is one that appears quickly and lasts a few hours or days, and is usually caused by a blow to the testicles.

Chronic pain, on the other hand, appears slowly and lasts for several weeks or months, and may be a sign of more serious problems such as inguinal hernia, varicocele, or chronic inflammatory processes.

In more rare cases, this type of pain can also indicate the presence of testicular cancer, although in cancer men don't normally feel pain and can only identify a hardened node or lump.

Testicular pain: 7 main causes and what to do

1. Varicocele

Varicocele is an enlargement of the testicle veins that occurs most often in the left testicle, but which can also affect only the right or both. This change causes constant discomfort, swelling of the testicles, and a sensation of heat, especially after walking or doing some physical activity. 

How to treat it: in most cases, pain caused by varicocele is treated with analgesics such as paracetamol or dipyrone. However, if there is a risk of infertility or if the pain doesn't improve with the use of drugs, a small surgery may be needed to "bind" the affected veins and make the blood only circulate through healthy vessels.

2. Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernia is very common in children and young adults, occurring when a portion of the intestine, or other abdominal content, passes through a weakened area of the abdominal muscles, entering the scrotum and causing constant swelling and pain. This can be worsened when getting up, bending over, or lifting weights, for example.

How to treat it: the only treatment available is inguinal hernia surgery, which allows for the portion of the intestine to be put back in the correct place and the strengthening of the abdominal muscles.

3. Epididymitis

Inflammation of the epididymis, also known as epididymitis, can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and symptoms include severe pain, swollen testicles, redness, and fever with chills.

How to treat it: see a urologist to assess the need for antibiotics, which may be ceftriaxone or quinolones (usually ciprofloxacin); the treatment period may vary.

4. Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion is usually an emergency situation that is more common before the age of 25 and causes very intense pain. However, there are cases in which this torsion doesn't happen completely and, so, the man may only have constant discomfortor intense pain that comes and goes according to movements. 

How to treat it: in case of suspected testicular torsion, go quickly to the emergency room to confirm the diagnosis and have surgery to return the testicle to the correct place, avoiding complications such as infertility.

5. Prostatitis

Inflammation of the prostate, known as prostatitis, usually causes symptoms such as painful urination, fever, perineal pain, and a feeling of being unable to empty the bladder. However, pain in the testicles which worsens when touched, is also common.

How to treat it: a good way to relieve pain is to take a sitz bath with warm water for 15 minutes and do Kegel exercises. However, it is almost always necessary to also take antibiotics prescribed by the urologist, such as ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin.

6. Mumps

Although mumps usually affect the parotid glands, which are found on the side of the face, the virus that causes the disease can also make its way down to the testicles, causing inflammation. So, pain in the testicles is possible after mumps because of the spread of the virus.

How to treat it: anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, are usually used to relieve symptoms, but it is also necessary to rest and drink plenty ofwater during the day to help the body get rid of the virus.

7. Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer rarely causes pain; however, this may happen in more advanced cases and other symptoms - such as intense swelling, changes in testicle size and lumps - will usually appear before, indicating that something is affecting the area.

How to treat it: whenever cancer is suspected, see a urologist as soon as possible, because early diagnosis improves the chances of a cure. However, the removal of the affected testicle is necessary in almost all cases.

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