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Scrotal Pain

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What do I need to know about scrotal pain?

Scrotal pain can happen at any age. 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 have scrotal pain. The pain may be a warning sign of a serious condition that will need treatment. Without immediate care, you 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 you have any of the following:

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

How is the cause of scrotal pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your pain. 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 scrotum. The pain may also have moved from your scrotum to another area. Tell your provider if you have pain during exercise or if you had an injury to your groin. Also tell your provider if you have any problems urinating or if any discharge came out of your penis. Your provider may also ask about your sexual activity.

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

How is scrotal pain treated?

Treatment will depend on the cause of your pain:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your 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 you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • 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.

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

  • Wear a support device, if directed. A support device, such as a jock strap, can help keep your scrotum lifted and supported. This can help decrease pain.
  • Apply ice to your scrotum. Ice helps decrease pain and swelling. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the pack or bag with a towel before you apply it to your scrotum. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have any warning signs of a serious problem.
  • You have pain or swelling that starts or gets worse quickly.
  • You have skin changes in your scrotum, such as a dark patch.
  • You have a fever.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your pain does not get better, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have new or worsening pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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