Lump In Testicle: What Does It Mean?

    Lump In Testicle: What Does It Mean?

    In healthy people, the inner and outer organs of the body often exist in a normal state. That’s why if something is wrong or out of balance, our bodies alert us through a change in the concerned body part’s appearance or feeling. If left unchecked, it could lead to complications. In men, feeling a lump in testicle could be cause for alarm. Most of the time, an abnormality in the testicle is nothing serious, but it is always best to check with your doctor.

    Characteristics of “normal” testicles

    Before we go into discussing what could be causing a lump in a testicle, there are some general features to look at which describe normal testicles.

    Both testicles should be approximately the same size, although is it normal if one is fairly larger than the other. The texture should also be smooth, free of bumps or lumps. It must also feel firm, but not overly hard. You might also feel for the epididymis, which is the soft tube behind each testicle.

    Abnormalities in the testicle

    Feeling sudden changes in the testicle can be concerning but this typically does not indicate something bad. On the other hand, in a few cases, a lump in testicle may be a sign of testicular cancer.

    Possible causes of lumps

    • Varicocele: This is a swelling of the veins in the scrotum, which encloses both testicles. These are thought to be due to faulty valves in the veins inside the scrotum, which control blood flow to and from the testes. When the valves malfunction, blood is backed up resulting in enlarged veins.
    • Hernia: This occurs when tissue enters the scrotum through a vulnerable spot in the abdominal wall. Often, this tissue is part of the intestine. Hernias are mostly caused by weakened muscles that may be congenital, linked to aging, or repeated strains on the abdominal and groin areas of the body.
    • Hydrocele: This is swelling caused by fluid in the scrotum.
    • Cyst: A lump in testicle may be due to fluid-filled sacs in the testicle.
    • Epididymitis: This condition is when the epididymis (the tube where sperm is stored) is infected or inflamed.
    • Testicular torsion: Swelling also happens when a testicle gets twisted. This is a medical emergency.

    The presence of a lump in testicle may affect fertility in men. These aberrations vary in size. Most lumps are soft, fluid-filled, and can cause swelling, although these are usually harmless and resolve on their own.

    Treatment of these conditions include medication (e.g., antibiotics), surgery (e.g., draining or removing a mass), surgical removal of testicle (for cancer patients), or pushing the hernia back where it belongs.

    Testicular cancer

    On a more serious note, a lump in testicle may also be a sign of testicular cancer. It is not a common cancer, but it is among the most common cancers for younger men between 20 and 39 years old. This cancer starts out as germ cell tumors, which differentiate into two types: seminomas and non-seminomas.

    A seminoma is more common in younger men, usually those in their early twenties, or even teenagers.

    Several factors affect the likelihood of developing the disease, such as age, undescended testicles, family or personal history, human immunodeficiency virus or race. In Filipinos, the disease affects 2.10 out of 100,000 people.

    Symptoms

    Although testicular cancer sometimes does not exhibit symptoms, the most common is a painless swelling or lump in testicle or a difference in its size or shape.

    Other symptoms you should look out for include:

    • Heavy feeling in the scrotum
    • Feeling of unevenness
    • Lower abdominal pain
    • Pain in the testicle or scrotum
    • Back pain or even an enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue.

    The last possible symptom is due to hormones produced by cancer cells.

    It is important to note that this is a highly curable disease especially if caught early on.

    Key Takeaway

    Feeling a lump in testicle should not cause undue stress or worry, because it is usually nothing serious. There are several conditions that cause lumps and these can be treated with antibiotics or a surgical procedure. However, it is always best to get it checked to put your mind at ease. If it turns out to be testicular cancer, catching it early boosts the chances of curing it.

    Learn more about Testicular Cancer here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Testicle lumps and swellings, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicle-lumps-and-swellings/. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    What Should I Do About Lumps in My Testicles?, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/lumps-testicles.html. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    Testicular cancer, https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer/testicular-cancer. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    Lump on Testicle (Scrotal Masses), https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21026-scrotal-masses. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    Testicular Cancer: Risk Factors, https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/testicular-cancer/risk-factors. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    What should my testicles look and feel like?, https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/mens-health/what-should-my-testicles-look-and-feel-like/. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    What is a Varicocele?, https://www.uclahealth.org/urology/body.cfm?id=478&action=detail&ref=19#:~:text=Varicocele%20Causes,veins%20to%20dilate%20(enlarge).. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

    Hernia, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15757-hernia. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

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    Written by China Logarta Updated Aug 05
    Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD