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A guide to testicular lumps

A guide to testicular lumps

If you’ve noticed a lump on your testicles, or some swelling, and are concerned about what to do next, this article offers some guidance on recognising different types of growths, whether they may require treatment and the treatments available.

Lumps or swellings in the testicles are a relatively common occurrence and the majority of these are benign i.e. non-cancerous. There are a number of different causes for them, but if you have noticed a lump on one of your testicles, it’s advisable to get it checked out by your GP as soon as possible.

Some of these types of swellings may resolve on their own and not need treatment. However, it is hugely important to have any growths examined by a medical professional in case they are something more serious, such as a tumour.

In very rare cases, testicular lumps can be an early sign of testicular cancer, although Cancer Research UK estimates that less than 4% of testicular lumps are cancerous.

Two common causes of testicular lumps are:

  • Hydroceles (“Hi-droe-seels”) - A collection of fluid in the scrotum. A hydrocele is benign, not painful, but may make the testicle / scrotum look swollen and feel like a balloon filled with water
  • Epididymal cysts – Small fluid-filled balls or lumps on one of your testicles. They may look a little water balloon-like, are benign, typically painless and caused by a build-up of fluid in the epididymis – a long, coiled tube at the back of the testicles that stores and transports sperm. They can be very common with age

I’ve noticed an unusual lump on my testicles. What should I do?

Lumps, swellings or changes to the testicles should always be checked out. See our guide to checking your testicles in three simple steps.

If you are experiencing any unusual changes in the way your testicles look or feel, take action and see your GP to get it examined as soon as you can. You can book a private GP appointment at Benenden Hospital to get you the answers you need, quickly.

Some testicular lumps or swellings may not require any treatment and may just disappear on their own.

Testicular pain

If there is a change in the way your testicles feel, such as an aching, tenderness or discomfort which shows no signs of easing, see a GP.

Pain in the testicles can be caused by a variety of factors such as inflammation, sudden traumatic injury - such as a muscle strain in the pelvis or groin - an infection, hernia or kidney stones. If your job involves sitting for long periods, this can cause the testicles to compress against the seat and lead to poor circulation, so it’s important to regularly stand up and go for short walks.

Bowel issues such as IBS can also lead to testicular injury from excessive straining. Pinched nerves in the lower back can sometimes radiate pain down to the testicles, although this is uncommon.

Longer term pain in the testicles can also be a symptom of chronic prostatitis, an inflammation (swelling) of the prostate gland. This can get better over time and with treatment.

Testicular pain on its own is not generally a sign of testicular cancer, which is accompanied by other symptoms such as a lump of swelling.

I’m experiencing sudden testicle pain. What should I do?

If you experience sudden severe testicle pain, particularly when accompanied by nausea and vomiting, this should be treated as an emergency and you should go to your nearest A&E department.

Sudden pain can be an indicator of an emergency condition called testicular torsion (twisting), a condition most common in young males under the age of 20. This is when a testicle becomes twisted inside the scrotum, twisting the blood vessels and cutting off the blood supply. Emergency surgery is required to untwist the testicle and is most effective as soon as possible after the symptoms start.  

What treatments are available if I have a hydrocele or epididymal cyst?

These conditions may not require any treatment and may just disappear on their own. If a lump causes pain or discomfort it may be possible to have it surgically removed.

Treatment for a testicular lump will depend on the underlying cause of the lump. Our Consultant Urologists will discuss your treatment plan, and whether a surgical or non-surgical option is right for you. We offer treatment for unilateral or bilateral correction of hydrocele(s).

Our Private GPs can discuss any concerns you have about your health. Book your 25-minute appointment for £100 today.

To find out more or to book, complete our online enquiry form or contact our Private Patient Team by phone on 01580 363158 or via Livechat.

Published on 22 September 2023