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What are the Common Causes of Scrotal Swelling?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Scrotal swelling is an abnormal swelling of the scrotum, the sac that contains the testicles in males. This swelling can happen in males of any age and can be chronic or may occur suddenly. Some potential causes of scrotal swelling include the presence of a cyst, a hernia, or a tumor. Treatment is directed at finding and treating the cause of the swelling. Any abnormal swelling in this area should be reported to a doctor so an accurate diagnosis can be obtained.

An epidymal cyst, also known as a spermatocele, is an abnormal collection of the epididymis and is a common reason for scrotal swelling. The epididymis is a narrow tube extending from the back of each testicle. These cysts are usually small and cause little or no pain. In some cases, the cysts may grow quite large and may cause a fair amount of pain. In these instances, surgery may be necessary to remove the cysts.

An inguinal hernia is another common cause of scrotal swelling. This condition is the result of part of the intestines protruding through the abdominal wall, sometimes into the scrotum. Swelling may come and go, and there may also be pain and redness associated with an inguinal hernia. Surgery to repair the hernia is usually recommended in order to prevent further complications.

Testicular tumors may cause scrotal swelling, especially if the tumors become large. These tumors often appear as small lumps on or in the testicle. If diagnosed early, these tumors can usually be treated with medications or surgical intervention without any long-term complications.

A condition known as testicular torsion can cause sudden, intense pain as well as scrotal swelling. Testicular torsion occurs when one of the testicles rotates on the cord that supports it. This causes the the blood supply to the testicles to be cut off and is considered a medical emergency. Surgery is required immediately in order to preserve future fertility. In severe cases of testicular torsion, the affected testicle may have to be removed.

Trauma to the genital area can create a collection of blood known as a hematocele, often leading to scrotal swelling. This trauma could come from physical injury or recent surgery involving the genital area. Pain and bruising are also common when a hematocele is present. This condition will usually go away on its own without medical intervention, but it should be evaluated by a medical professional to make sure there are no complications that need to be addressed.

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Discussion Comments

By anon338291 — On Jun 12, 2013

My husband just found out his very swollen scrotum is due to a hernia. It's been there for some time, but because it didn't hurt, he saw no reason to get checked out. He has a consultation tomorrow. We've been trying to start a family for some time. Would this hernia be the reason I've not gotten pregnant?

By turquoise — On Jun 11, 2012

@burcinc-- @feruze gave good advice. Only your doctor can diagnose you, but there are quite a few condition that might be responsible for the swelling. The cause can be as simple and harmless as sexual excitement or as serious as cancer. Sometimes you have to look into each and single possible cause to find the actual problem.

One other condition that comes to mind which hasn't been mentioned yet is varicocele. This is when the veins in the scrotum become enlarged and give the appearance of a swollen testicle. It's basically the same thing as varicose veins, except that it occurs in the scrotum and not the legs.

If you do have varicocele, it might be minor and might not require treatment. But if it has progressed, it might require surgery because varicocele can lead to infertility. Don't jump to any conclusions though. Let the doctor diagnose you and take care of you.

By bear78 — On Jun 10, 2012

@burcinc-- It could be a hematoma like the article said, or perhaps an infection. Did you get an ultrasound, blood work and urine test?

It's good that the doctor didn't find a mass as that would be suggestive of a tumor. But if they didn't do a blood or urine test, they might have missed an infection which might be the culprit.

I know you said that you didn't have an injury, but that's another main cause of scrotal and testicular swelling. Injury, like a hard blow to the testicles, can cause a hematoma and swelling that lasts a long time. Some people don't realize the swelling until much later and might forget the injury that was responsible for it.

I think you should go back to the doctor. It's probably not something serious, but if there is swelling, there must be a cause for it.

By burcinc — On Jun 10, 2012

Are there any other reasons for the swelling of the scrotum?

I've been experiencing occasional scrotal swelling for the past several months. I went to the doctor who didn't find any mass like a cyst or tumor. I also haven't suffered any injury to the area, nor have I had surgery.

The swelling doesn't cause any pain, but it does affect one testicle more than the other. The swelling seems to come about several times a week for a period of several hours. Eventually, it goes down on its own without any treatment.

I don't know if I need to be worried. My doctor doesn't seem worried but this swelling doesn't seem normal to me.

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