What Is Testicular Pain?
Testicular pain lasting greater than 6 months can be the result of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and pelvic nerve irritation. At Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine we specialize in the treatment of chronic pain. Overtime nerve damage or compression can cause testicular pain which we aim to alleviate.
What Can Cause Testicular Pain?
Testicular pain can stem from multiple causes such as:
- Testicular torsion
- Kidney stones
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Testicular Pain?
Depending on the root cause of testicular pain, it may affect one or both testicles, or the scrotum (the pouch containing the testicles). In the case of kidney stones, pain often begins radiating from the lower back or abdomen. Testicular pain from conditions like mumps or polyarteritis will usually be accompanied by a fever.
What Are The Risk Factors With Pain In The Testicles?
Testicular pain from torsion most commonly occurs in boys between 12 and 18. Its cause is unknown but it often takes place several hours following strenuous physical activity. If you have had testicular pain that abated on its own in the past, it is likely to re-occur. Hereditary factors also apply, so if other members of your family have had testicular torsion in the past, you may be at higher risk.
How Is Testicular Pain Diagnosed?
Many causes of testicular pain can be identified with a physical examination of the area. A urine test may be called for to determine whether or not the pain is a result of an infection. A scrotal ultrasound can show whether or not blood flow to the area is restricted, as in testicular torsion. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Other times a primary diagnosis or symptom may have additional or secondary conditions or causes. This could be tension or tightness in the pelvic floor musculature that leads to functional issues to the sexual organs. Depending on what your symptoms are it is including to consult with a pelvic floor specialist. We often see male patients post-vasectomy experiencing pain well after the surgery. It is not uncommon to not make the connection of this pain to the pelvic floor muscles.
What Are The Possible Treatments?
When testicular pain results from dysfunction of the pelvic muscles, myofascial physical therapy can help release muscle tension and relieve pain. If the pain has been ongoing for an extended period of time pelvic floor physical therapy may not be enough. Our team of physiatrists has developed a series of external ultrasound-guided trigger point injections to help. This treatment allows for space to be created within the knots of formed in the pelvic floor muscles. Infections causing testicular pain can usually be treated by the use of antibiotics.
Testicular torsion is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery. Failure to address torsion immediately can result in long-term effects including loss of testicular function. Kidney stones cause a great deal of pain but can often be passed without treatment. Drinking more water can help kidney stones pass more quickly, as can audio shockwave treatments to break up large stones into smaller pieces.
Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Testicular Pain?
Testicular pain, particularly in younger patients, is often a result of over-activity of the pelvic muscles. Pelvic pain specialists can recommend exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and help prevent injury. If you participate in athletic activities in which damage to the testicles might occur, it’s important to wear protective gear to reduce your risk. Testicles should be examined on a monthly basis to note lumps or changes that may indicate a possible health issue. Staying regularly hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water has been shown to help ease passage of kidney stones and reduce the risk of prostatitis. Since STIs are a common cause of testicular pain, you should make sure that you practice safe sex and use condoms.
What Are The Risks If Testicular Pain Is Left Untreated?
Most causes of testicular pain can be treated relatively easily. If untreated, an infection like chlamydia or a condition like testicular torsion can cause permanent damage to the testicular area. This can include loss of fertility or reproductive function or a secondary infection that may be life-threatening.
Are There Other Related Conditions?
Pain localized in the penis rather than the testicles can be a symptom of a number of disorders. Itching and burning in the penis, especially during urination, is a symptom of sexually transmitted infections that can generally be treated by antibiotics. Peyronie’s Disease, a disorder caused by scar tissue buildup in the penis, causes penile pain and a bent erect penis.
Following a vasectomy, some pain and discomfort is common. This generally abates after a few days, but vasectomy patients should take care while recovering post-surgery to avoid complications. A few days to a week of rest are necessary. Other precautions include wearing snug underwear to restrict movement of the testicles. See a doctor if your regular discomfort is accompanied by a high fever or major testicular swelling.
Testicular pain should always be taken seriously. Ignoring symptoms can lead to worsening pain and even loss of testicular function. If you are experiencing symptoms of testicular pain, visit a specialist as soon as possible to identify and treat the source of the problem. We understand that this is a sensitive condition and do everything we can to help our patients feel relaxed and comfortable.
Select Relevant Publications
Shrikhande A, Ahmed T, Shrikhande G, Hill C. A Novel, Non-Opiod Based Treatment Approach to Men with Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (UCPPS) Using Ultrasound Guided Nerve Hydrodissection and Pelvic Floor Musculature Trigger Point Injections. The International Continence Society. 2018 Aug. Link to Article.