Man holding groin in pain and wondering about the causes of testicular pain

Common Causes of Testicular Pain

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby on November 25, 2019. Written by Kathryn Wall. Last updated February 6, 2024. 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.


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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 Infection (STIs)

Untreated chlamydia in men, as well as gonorrhea, can contribute to symptoms like testicular pain. But, although 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 type 2 genital herpes can lead to the development of genital sores, blisters, or ulcers 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.

Private STD consultations

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. [2, 3]

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates to restrict blood flow through the spermatic cord [4]—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, chemotherapy drugs, and statins. [5, 6] 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 [5, 6] – 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 a bacterial infection, which could stem from either a urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea. In addition to chronic pain in the testicles, symptoms of epididymitis include painful urination, discharge from the penis, and blood in the semen. [6]

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 [7] – 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 [8]:

  • Diabetes
  • Prostatitis (which may include swollen testicles)
  • 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. [9]

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.

Can Anxiety Cause Testicle Pain?

Although anxiety can affect the body in various ways, there is currently no clear evidence to suggest anxiety causes testicular pain. However, testicular discomfort may sometimes coincide with stress or other mental health issues – but it's important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. [10]


Epididymitis Treatment: How It Works

Chlamydia Symptoms in Men: Key Points to Know

What Does an Itchy Urethra in Males Mean?


References

  1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). World Health Organization. Published July 10, 2023. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  2. Kidney stones. Mayo Clinic. Updated June 3, 2022. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  3. Testicular Torsion. Cleveland Clinic. Updated February 27, 2023. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  4. What Causes Testicular Pain? Urology of Greater Atlanta. Published October 30, 2023. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  5. Epididymitis. NHS. Updated October 6, 2023. Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 5, 2024.
  6. Epididymitis. MedlinePlus. Medical Citation URL. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  7. Leslie SW, Sajjad H, Siref LE. Chronic Testicular Pain and Orchalgia. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; May 30, 2023.
  8. Testicle pain. Mayo Clinic. Medical Citation URL. Accessed October 2, 2023.
  9. Gordhan CG, Sadeghi-Nejad H. Scrotal pain: evaluation and management. Korean J Urol. 2015;56(1):3-11. doi:10.4111/kju.2015.56.1.3
  10. Mwamukonda KB, Kelley JC, Cho DS, Smitherman A. Relationship between chronic testicular pain and mental health diagnoses. Transl Androl Urol. 2019 Mar;8(Suppl 1):S38-S44. doi: 10.21037/tau.2019.02.05. PMID: 31143670; PMCID: PMC6511703.

Kathryn P. Wall, PhD is a strong scientific communicator with nearly 15 years of experience writing, editing, and publishing scientific research, STEM curriculum, and health content. She is skilled in manuscript and conference materials preparation, strategic publication planning, and medical communications with a focus on clinical publications and healthcare economics and outcomes research (HEOR). She has published in scientific journals such as Biophysical Journal and ACS Chemical Biology. Kathryn holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Biochemistry with a Ph.D. certificate in Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder.
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