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Scrotal Pain in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

What do I need to know about scrotal pain?

Scrotal pain can happen at any age. The most common ages are newborns and adolescents. The cause of scrotal pain can range from a minor injury to a serious medical condition. It is very important to seek immediate care if you know or think your child has scrotal pain. The pain may be a warning sign of a serious condition that will need treatment. Without immediate care, your child may be at increased risk for losing a testicle or being sterile (not having children).

What may cause scrotal pain?

  • Torsion (twisting) of the testicle, cord that carries sperm from the testicle, or tissue attached to the testicle
  • An infection of the testicle or other area in the scrotum
  • A hydrocele (fluid buildup around the testicle) or varicocele (blood backup in veins in the scrotum)
  • An inguinal hernia (tissue pushed out of place in your groin)
  • Fournier gangrene (tissue death of the area between the scrotum and anus)
  • A urinary tract infection or stone that is passing, or an infected appendix
  • An injury in your groin or scrotum

What are the warning signs of a serious medical problem?

Seek care immediately if your child has any of the following:

  • Pain that starts suddenly or is severe
  • Swelling in his scrotum or groin, especially if he also has severe pain or is vomiting
  • Red or black patches of skin on his scrotum or area between his penis and anus
  • Blisters anywhere in his groin or scrotum
  • A fever

How is the cause of scrotal pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your child and ask about his pain. Your adolescent may not feel comfortable talking about the pain. Encourage him to talk to his healthcare provider. It is important for the provider to know as much about the pain as possible. You or your child should tell the provider when the pain started and how long it lasts. Your provider will ask if pain started in another area and moved to your child's scrotum. The pain may also move from his scrotum to another area. Tell your provider if your child has pain during exercise. Tell the provider if your child had an injury to his groin or any recent illness. Also tell the provider if your child has any problems urinating. Tell your provider if your child has not been vaccinated, especially against mumps. Your provider may also ask your adolescent about his sexual activity if he is sexually active.

  • Blood tests may be used to check for signs of infection.
  • Ultrasound pictures may show a problem with your child's testicles or tissues in his scrotum. An ultrasound may also show kidney stones or other problems that may be causing the pain.

How is scrotal pain treated?

Treatment will depend on the cause of your child's pain, and his age:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not give your child other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to his healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat a bacterial infection.
  • Surgery may be needed to untwist the testicle or cord, or to remove dead or infected tissue.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has any warning signs of a serious problem, such as severe pain or skin changes.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's pain does not get better, even after he takes pain medicine.
  • Your child has new or worsening pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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