Scrotal swelling is the abnormal enlargement of the scrotum, the sac that surrounds the testicles * .
Scrotal swelling is the abnormal enlargement of the scrotum, the sac that surrounds the testicles in males. Swelling can occur on one or both sides and there may be associated pain. Swelling may result from excess fluid, tissue, or a mass.
There are several conditions that can cause swelling of the scrotum:
The risk of scrotal swelling depends on the condition causing the swelling. Scrotal swelling only occurs in men.
Swelling of the scrotum is a sign by itself. Other signs are usually related to the specific condition causing the swelling and include pain or tenderness of the scrotum or testicles. The pain may be so severe that the person experiences nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of dizziness. If the swelling is caused by infection, there may be fever.
The healthcare provider obtains a health history by asking questions about the person's concern, including:
The history is followed by a physical examination. The healthcare provider examines the scrotum, testicles, spermatic cord, epididymis, and penis while the person is lying down and standing. One procedure that may be done is transillumination of the scrotum. In this procedure, a bright light is placed behind the scrotum, and the healthcare provider observes whether the light passes through. Light will pass through fluid (e.g., edema) but will not pass through solid tissue (e.g., a tumor). Laboratory examination of blood and urine samples may be done to detect any signs of infection. The doctor may also order an ultrasound * of the scrotum to determine the specific location where the swelling is occurring.
Depending on the problem, the person may be referred to a urologist * . Treatment depends on the cause of the scrotal swelling.
Initial interventions for some conditions that cause scrotal swelling may include applying ice packs to the scrotum during the first 24 hours after an injury. If pain is severe, a rolled-up towel placed between the legs under the scrotum can help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Wearing a loose-fitting athletic supporter can provide comfort. Over-the-counter medications can be taken to relieve pain. It is important to avoid excessive activity or straining until the swelling has resolved. Once scrotal swelling has occurred, individuals should follow up with their healthcare provider to ensure that the condition has not returned or become worse.
Scrotal swelling associated with injury to the genital area can be prevented by wearing protective gear during sports or other activities in which injury to the groin may occur.
See also Epididymitis • Heart Disease: Overview • Orchitis • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Overview • Sports Injuries: Overview • Testicular Cancer • Testicular Torsion
McAninch, Jack and Lue, Tom F. Smith and Tanagho's General Urology, 18th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.
Merck Manual: Consumer Version. “Scrotal Swelling.” http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/symptoms-of-kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/scrotal-swelling (accessed July 6, 2016).
MedlinePlus. “Groin Pain.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003111.htm (accessed July 6, 2016).
MedlinePlus. “Scrotal Swelling.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003161.htm (accessed July 6, 2016).
MedlinePlus. “Testicular Disorders.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/testiculardisorders.html (accessed July 6, 2016).
Urology Care Foundation. 1000 Corporate Blvd, Linthicum, MD 21090. Telephone: 410-689-3700. Website: www.urologyhealth.org (accessed July 6, 2016).
* testicles (TES-tih-kulz) are the paired male reproductive glands that produce sperm.
* infection (in-FEK-shun) is the invasion and proliferation of microorganisms in the body, including bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
* testicular cancer is a cancer of the testicles. It is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34 years.
* inflammation (in-fla-MAY-shun) is the body's reaction to irritation, infection, or injury and often involves swelling, pain, redness, and warmth.
* congestive heart failure (kon-JES-tiv) is a condition in which a damaged or overworked heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the oxygen and nutrient needs of the body.
* ultrasound is a diagnostic test in which sound waves passing through the body create images on a computer screen. Also called a sonogram.
* urologist (yoor-OL-o-jist) is a physician with specialized knowledge of and experience in the treatment of diseases of the male genitalia and urinary system.