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A to Z: Scrotal Pain, Acute

A variety of things can cause pain in the scrotum, the pouch-like structure at the base of a boy's penis.

More to Know

The scrotum holds the testicles (the organs that produce sperm). It also holds the epididymis and the vas deferens, which are tubes that sperm travel through before leaving the body.

Things that can cause scrotal pain include:

  • Testicular torsion, which is when the spermatic cord that provides blood flow to the testicle rotates and becomes twisted, usually due to an injury or medical condition. This cuts off the testicle's blood supply and causes sudden and severe pain and swelling. Testicular torsion is a medical emergency that usually requires immediate surgery to save the testicle.

  • Epididymitis, the swelling and inflammation of the epididymis, the coiled tube at the back of the testicle that holds and carries sperm. It's often treated with antibiotics, ice, and rest.
  • Scrotal contusions (bruises) can follow a bump or fall during sports or active play. The injury may cause blood to leak out from small blood vessels called capillaries. This can cause soreness, swelling, and "black and blue" marks on the skin. A bruise should gradually become less painful and fade until it is gone in about 2 weeks. Many scrotal injuries can be prevented by wearing a protective cup during contact, ball, or puck sports.
  • Hernias are fairly common, and more than 70% of these are inguinal hernias, in which a part of the intestines protrudes through an opening in the lower part of the abdomen, near the groin. The protruding piece of intestine may enter the scrotum, which can cause swelling and pain.

Keep in Mind

Boys and teen guys can sometimes experience scrotal pain that doesn't always come from the scrotum itself. Sometimes it comes from a pulled muscle or tendon near the scrotum, or from another part of the body, such as the lower back or belly.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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