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Common causes of testicular pain

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby on November 25, 2019. Written by Kathryn Wall. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


For many men, testicular pain is an anxiety-inducing experience—whether it’s a sharp, pulsing pain or a dull ache that just won’t go away. You might be worried it’s something serious—and wondering what’s causing it.

The good news is that researchers have learned a lot about the potential causes of testicular pain, which means treatment and relief is possible. So keep reading to learn more about some of the common reasons for testicular pain, related health conditions, and more.

Common causes of testicular pain

Here are some of the most common causes of testicle pain.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Untreated chlamydia in men, as well as gonorrhea, can contribute to symptoms like testicular pain. But, alhough chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common STIs associated with testicular pain, other STIs can trigger chronic scrotal pain as well. For instance, syphilis and herpes type 2 can lead to the development of genital sores that may cause pain in one or both testicles [1].

A convenient way to test for STIs is with an Everlywell at-home test. The Male STD Test checks for 6 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Also consider learning more on how to test for STDs from the privacy and convenience of home.

Kidney stones

If you are experiencing severe pain around your testicles, a kidney stone may be to blame.

A kidney stone is a solid crystallized mass composed of salts and minerals that has formed inside a kidney [2]. Many times, the body will work to eliminate them by passing them through the ureter, which is delicate and often far smaller than the stones themselves.

This can cause acute testicular pain, as well as other symptoms including blood in the urine, nausea, and frequent urination. Risk factors for kidney stones include obesity, dehydration, and a diet high in salt and/or sugar [3][4].

Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates to restrict blood flow through the spermatic cord [5]—the cord that delivers blood to the scrotum. A twisted testicle can lead to sudden, acute testicular pain, along with symptoms including swelling of the scrotum, a highly positioned testicle, and nausea.

Testicular torsion can trigger severe testicle pain and scrotal swelling when performing any activity such as walking, standing, exercising, or sitting, and is usually considered a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery. If you suspect you have a twisted testicle and are experiencing severe pain, seek medical attention right away.

Medication side effects

Certain medications may also be associated with the onset of testicular pain, including antibiotics [6], chemotherapy drugs, and statins [7]. If you notice that your testicle pain began around the time you started using these or another type of prescription drug, review the medication’s side effects and inform your healthcare provider immediately.

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis [8]—the tube at the back of the testes responsible for storing and carrying sperm. Inflammation and swelling of the epididymis can cause chronic testicular pain. Epididymitis is usually caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. In addition to chronic pain in the testicles, symptoms of epididymitis include pain during urination, discharge from the penis, and blood in the semen [9].

If you suspect you may have chlamydia or gonorrhea, and want a private test to find out, our at-home Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test is a simple way to screen for these infections. If you test positive, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with our independent physician network—and may be prescribed medication.

Testicular pain may be a side effect of certain health conditions [10]—especially those that affect your nerves or urinary system. Inflammation and blood flow problems in the urinary system can cause right or left testicle pain, while nerve-related health conditions may lead to sore testicles with gradual pain, or sharp pain in the testicles that comes on suddenly.

If you are experiencing pain in the right testicle or left testicle, it may be caused by an underlying health condition. Common health conditions related to testicular pain include the following [11]:

  • Diabetes
  • Prostatitis (which may include scrotal swelling)
  • Henoch-Schonlein purpura
  • Orchitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Varicocele
  • Mumps
  • Hydrocele
  • Gangrene
  • Inguinal hernia

If you're suffering from any of the above health conditions and are also experiencing left or right testicle pain, make an appointment with your healthcare provider right away to discuss treatment options. Issues like a hernia will require medical attention and possibly even pain medication of some kind.

Seeking medical care

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you're experiencing testicular pain and/or testicular swelling. The type of medical care you receive for testicular pain depends on the root cause of your pain [12].

Common questions

Can testicle pain be caused by testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is rare, and usually only affects one testicle. A common symptom of testicular cancer is a small painless lump in the left or right testicle. If you have a "testicle lump" or swelling in your testes and are concerned you may have testicular cancer or a testicular tumor, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn more.


Can testicular pain lead to infertility?

Testicular pain by itself usually won’t affect your fertility. However, some testicular pain causes such as varicocele and chronic epididymitis may lead to infertility when left untreated.