Testicular Health

The testicles (which are a part of the male reproductive system) produce sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone. The testicles are inside the scrotum (a loose sac of skin). The scrotum hangs down behind the penis.

There are many different causes for testicular lumps and swellings and, in rare cases, these testicle lumps or swellings can be testicular cancer symptoms. Fortunately, most testicular lumps are in fact non-cancerous (benign), with Cancer Research UK estimating that less than four in every 100 are testicular cancer.


What to expect at your IPSA testicular-health consultation

At your IPSA testicular-health consultation, your IPSA practitioner will examine you in IPSA’s highly confidential clinic setting. Your IPSA doctor is skilled at dealing with testicular issues, and, as IPSA offers client-centred and holistic treatment, your IPSA physician will work with you, taking you through a detailed symptom, risk factor, and family history check.

If you do present with a testicular infection or inflammation, then your IPSA practitioner will provide you immediately with an antibiotic treatment, analgesia, or anti-inflammatories.

If your IPSA practitioner has any suspicion that you might have testicular cancer following your testicular assessment, they will refer you, without delay, to a local testicular clinic, with an appointment time that will suit your availability.



Men’s health: Types of testicular lumps and swellings

There are four different kinds of testicular lumps/swellings:

  • A varicocele, which is a swelling that is due to enlarged (dilated) veins in the scrotum
  • A hydrocele is a swelling that is due to fluid building up around the testicle
  • An epididymal cyst is a lump caused by a build-up of fluid in the coiled tube (the epididymis) behind the testicles. If the cyst contains sperm, then it is called a spermatocele
  • Testicular torsion is a medical emergency causing testicular pain. This is when there is a painful and sudden swelling due to a twisted testicle, and this then interferes with the blood supply to the testicles


When should I seek medical help?

If you become aware of any changes to your testicles, or of any swellings or lumps, then see your IPSA practitioner, as such changes should always be seen by a healthcare professional.


Who is affected?

Varicoceles affect around 1 in every 7 men and are relatively common. After puberty (when the body has sexually matured), the testicles are fully developed and there is an increase in the blood flow to the affected veins; and this is usually the time when these varicoceles become noticeable.

For every 100 new-born males, one or two will be affected by these hydroceles. In men, and also in older boys, hydroceles can occur following an infection or injury.

Up to one third of men are affected by epididymal cysts. Although these can develop at any age, they are most often found in middle-aged men.

Testicular torsion is an uncommon condition that can affect men in their 20s, although it is usually found in boys from 13 to 17 years old. Studies (based in America) now suggest that testicular torsion affects, each year, around one in every 4,000 men.


Other causes of testicular lumps/swellings

There are other causes of testicular lumps/swellings such as:

  • An inflammation of the epididymis (known as epididymitis), which could be due to a urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted infection
  • An inflammation of the testicle called epididymo-orchitis. Here, your epididymitis and orchitis (an inflammation of the testicle) combine; this is often linked to an infection
  • An inguinal hernia which is when a piece of the bowel protrudes through a weak muscle or through the surrounding wall tissue into the groin. This affects over 25% of men during their lifetime

It is important to have any changes in your testicles assessed by your IPSA physician – if you have any concerns, then book your testicular-health consultation at your IPSA clinic today.
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