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Swollen or painful testicle

5-minute read

If pain in your testicles is severe, or came on suddenly, seek medical help immediately by either calling your doctor, going to your nearest emergency department or calling an ambulance on triple zero (000). It may be a sign of a serious illness that requires urgent treatment.

Key facts

  • Swollen or painful testicles can be caused by many different things.
  • Testicular torsion is one cause of swelling and pain — this is a medical emergency.
  • It's important to regularly check your testicles for new lumps or swellings.

What are swollen or painful testicles?

The testicles (or testes) are a part of the male reproductive system. They are very sensitive, and it can be very uncomfortable if they are swollen or painful.

What are the symptoms of swollen or painful testicles?

A swollen or painful testicle may be tender to touch or cause you discomfort. Depending on the cause, you may also have other symptoms.

What causes swollen or painful testicles?

Scrotal swelling or pain is caused by many things, including:

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can feel like a small, hard lump when touched. Cysts that cause painful testes are usually harmless.

Testicular torsion is another cause of swelling and pain. This happens when a testicle twists in the scrotum and cuts off the blood supply and causes swelling. This is a medical emergency — unless the condition is treated quickly, the testicle can die.

Swollen testes are more common in children. See your doctor if your child has symptoms of a scrotal lump. Babies can commonly experience a hydrocele, which is a sac filled with fluid around a testicle. It causes the scrotum to be swollen. This is usually harmless and goes away after a few months.

Deliberate harm

Sometimes painful or swollen testes may be due to:

If you or someone you know has swollen or painful testes and you suspect that it was caused deliberately, see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Consider talking to your doctor or another trusted person.

When should I see my doctor?

A swollen or painful testicle should not be ignored as it can be a sign of an urgent and serious illness.

You should see a doctor immediately if you have:

  • sudden or severe pain in your testicles, lower abdomen (tummy) or groin
  • sudden testicular swelling or tenderness

These symptoms may be a sign of testicular torsion. You may also have nausea, vomiting and fever.

You should make an appointment to see your doctor within a few days if you have:

  • mild pain
  • swelling or enlarged testicles
  • a lump on your testicle

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How are swollen or painful testes diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your testicles. They may also order urine tests and imaging tests such as an ultrasound.

How are swollen or painful testes treated?

Treatment will depend on what is causing your pain or swelling.

For torsion of the testicles, an urgent operation is needed. Other causes of swollen testicles may have different treatments.

Epididymoorchitis (infections) can be treated with antibiotics. Other causes of scrotal swelling can be left alone if your symptoms are not too bad. Sometimes non-urgent surgery is needed.

Your doctor can advise on the best treatment for your swollen or painful testicles.

Self care

If you have pain or an enlarged testicle, there are ways you can ease your discomfort until you see a doctor.

You can put a rolled-up towel between your legs and under your scrotum to support it.

Wearing an athletic support (jock strap) or supportive underwear might also provide some comfort to swollen testicles.

A warm bath may aid with swollen testicles.

You can also hold an ice pack wrapped in cloth to your testicles to ease pain and swelling. Do this for 20 minutes, 4 times a day.

You can also ask your pharmacist about pain relief to ease discomfort.

How to prevent swollen or painful testicles

Swollen or painful testes can be caused by many different things. Some of these things can be prevented or treated early to prevent problems.

It's important to regularly check your testicles for new lumps or swellings. Your doctor can show you how to do this if you are unsure. Most lumps are not cancer, but it's important to have them checked out.

Complications of swollen or painful testicles

The complications of swollen or painful testicles depend on what they are caused by.

Varicoceles and conditions such as testicular cancer may lead to problems with fertility.

Testicular torsion is a medical emergency that can cause loss of your testicle if not treated as soon as possible.

Resources and support

For more information on men's health, you can visit the Healthy Male website.

If you are unsure who to speak to, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria) to discuss your concerns with a registered nurse.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2023

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