Scrotal swelling is an
enlargement of the scrotal sac. The scrotal sac,
or scrotum, houses the testicles. Scrotal swelling can occur due to injury or
an underlying medical condition. It may be caused by an accumulation of fluid,
inflammation, or an abnormal growth within the scrotum.
The swelling may be painless or very painful. If
the swelling is painful you should seek emergency treatment. In
severe cases and depending on the cause, not receiving timely treatment can
result in the loss of your testicles due to the death of tissue.
What causes scrotal swelling?
Scrotal swelling can happen rapidly or slowly over time. One
of the main causes of painful scrotal swelling is testicular
torsion. This is an injury or an event that causes a testicle
in the scrotal sac to twist and cut off blood circulation. This very painful
injury could cause tissue death to the scrotum in a matter of hours.
Medical conditions and diseases can also cause the scrotum
to swell. These conditions include:
enlarged veins in the scrotum
inflammation of the testes, called orchitis
due to increased fluid, called hydrocele
or infection in the epididymis, called epididymitis
or infection of the scrotal skin
Other symptoms related to these conditions may be present
before scrotal swelling.
Signs of scrotum swelling
In addition to a visible enlargement of the scrotal sac, you
may have additional symptoms. The symptoms you experience will depend on the
cause of the swelling.
Common symptoms that may be experienced alongside scrotal
swelling include a lump in the testicle and pain in the testicles or scrotum.
Contact your doctor if you notice either of these symptoms.
Identifying the cause
Mention to your doctor any symptoms you are experiencing
with the scrotal swelling. Let them know if your scrotum is painful or contains
a lump. After gathering this information, your doctor will perform a physical
The examination will include a physical inspection of the
scrotum. At this point, they will ask when you noticed the swelling and what
activities you were doing before the swelling.
If necessary, the doctor may perform a scrotal ultrasound to
view the inside of the scrotum. This imaging test will let them see if there
are any abnormalities within the scrotal sac.
Treatment options for scrotal swelling
Treatment options for scrotal swelling depend on the cause.
If an infection caused the swelling, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to
fight the infection. If oral antibiotics do not work, you may have to receive
intramuscular antibiotics or be hospitalized for IV antibiotics.
Treatment of an underlying medical condition that is linked
to your symptoms is important in your recovery. Your doctor can prescribe
medications to help you manage your pain and may recommend a supportive garment
to ease pain and swelling. Surgery may be necessary to correct the condition if
the underlying cause is varicocele, hernia, or hydrococele.
Testicular cancer has several treatment options, which will
depend on the severity of the cancer. Whether the cancer has spread, and how
long it went undetected will determine your treatment, which normally consists
of the following:
which involves removing cancerous tissue and cancerous tumors from the scrotal
In addition to receiving care from your doctor, they may
suggest at home treatment options, including:
ice on the scrotum to relieve swelling, normally within the first 24 hours of
noticing the swelling
an over-the-counter pain reliever
a sitz, or shallow bath to reduce swelling
The outlook for scrotal swelling varies depending on the
severity of the swelling and the cause. Swelling due to injury will generally
pass with time, while other causes require extensive treatment. With early
diagnosis and proper treatment, the outlook is generally good.