Warning: If you have testicles, this article may make you cringe—a lot. But, it’s a good idea to push on through and read this as it may apply to your health. Testicular torsion is a common issue. It can cause pain and swelling in the area of the testes. But what is it exactly? Is it something that gets tied up down there, or has one of the testicles come loose? In this article, we’ll look at testicular torsion causes, testicular torsion symptoms, and testicular torsion treatment so that the next time you have pain down under, you might have an idea of what it may or may not be.
What Are the Causes of Testicular Torsion?
Testicular torsion has kind of a sharp, painful name, doesn’t it? The description doesn’t make it any prettier. Testicular torsion is when the spermatic cord that feeds your testicles their blood supply becomes twisted, usually by one of the testicles rotating on the cord. It’s about as pleasant as it sounds as this can cause pain and swelling. The good news is that it’s usually only one testicle. The bad news is that you might be that rare person who will get both tied up. With this in mind, you may be curious as to what causes this so you can maybe avoid the causes. Some of the causes are avoidable, but most of them you will have little to no control over.
1. Bell Clapper Syndrome
Some people are born with something called bell clapper syndrome. Bell clapper syndrome means that for some reason your testicles are floating a bit more free in the scrotum. This excessive movement of the testicles can cause one to wrap around the cord, causing testicular torsion.
Any type of physical injury to the groin area can cause testicular torsion. A swift kick to the bollocks, falling on a curb, or a dangerous misaimed shot in tennis can all have the potential to cause this condition.
In a similar boat to injury, strenuous exercise that includes a lot of movement in the groin area (cycling for example) can cause testicular torsion.
As if puberty doesn’t do enough of a number on you, it can also help testicular torsion to occur. A rapid growth spurt can cause your body to grow in slightly different stages, and suddenly you might find your testicles in a twist,—literally.
Those are what can cause testicular torsion, now it’s time to move on to what the symptoms are.
Testicular Torsion Symptoms
The good news is that a lot of the symptoms of testicular torsion are pretty clear and easy to recognize. The bad news is that you’re going to be in a fair amount of pain when these symptoms spring up.
- Pain. If you have ever been booted between the uprights, you’ll know what you’re in for here. Testicular torsion pain tends to severe and sudden.
- Swelling. One or both of your testicles may become swollen due to the lack of blood.
- A lump. You may find a lump on your testicle as the spermatic cord may be swelling due to the twisting.
- Blood in the semen. If your pain isn’t severe or if you’re … in the middle of something (wink wink, nudge nudge) you may find blood in your semen.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Now that you know the symptoms, you are probably even more interested in how testicular torsion is treated and how you and your private parts might get back to a normal life.
Treatment of Testicular Torsion
There is one thing we should really make clear with this part: Testicular torsion is a medical emergency. Even if the pain subsides or you just have a really high pain threshold, you should go to a doctor or emergency room the minute you think you may have caused testicular torsion. The longer you wait, the longer that blood supply is cut off to your testicles. You know what’s more embarrassing than going to the ER with a swollen testicle? Explaining to someone you were too embarrassed to go to the ER with a swollen testicle and that’s why you had to have yours amputated. Unfortunately, there are only two real ways to fix testicular torsion, but they both require surgery.
Your doctor may be able to manually (and painfully) move the testicle back to where it should be by untwisting the spermatic cord on the way; however, unfortunately, once you’ve had testicular torsion, you’re a prime candidate for reoccurrence, so you are probably having surgery to correct the issue regardless. Surgery on adults is usually done under general anesthesia with a small incision being made to the scrotum. The doctor untwists the spermatic cord and possibly stitches one or both of the testicles to the scrotum to prevent it from occurring again. And for those who are thinking, “Nah, I take the pain; eventually it goes away,” we weren’t kidding about the amputation thing. If you get medical help within six hours of the pain starting, you have only a five percent chance of amputation. At the 48-hour mark, that chance rises to 90%. Something to keep in mind.
Testicular Torsion Is No Joke!
We’ve made a couple of jokes about little things here and there in this piece, but we’d like to re-affirm the fact that testicular torsion is no joke. If you think the pain you are experiencing might be testicular torsion, do not wait: go see a doctor immediately. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with enough knowledge that you will be able to recognize it and go get it treated before any permanent damage is done.
“Torsion Of Testes,” Healthline; http://www.healthline.com/health/testicular-torsion#overview1, last accessed April 20, 2017.
Nordqvist, C., “Testicular torsion: Causes, symptoms, and treatment,” Medical News Today, March 28, 2017; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/190514.php, last accessed April 20, 2017.
“Testicular Torsion,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/testicular-torsion/basics/definition/con-20033130, last accessed April 20, 2017.