Possible Causes of Pain in the Testicles

If you're reading this, it's probably because the boys hurt and you don't want to tell anybody. It's understandable. Indeed, you're not alone. Guys don't like to talk about pain down there. It's not manly. You especially don't want to go to a clinic to be seen for testicular pain.

I mean, seriously, what if the nurse is a girl? She's going to ask what's wrong.

The problem is that there are some serious conditions that can cause testicle pain. C'mon guys, let's face it; you have boy parts. The female nurse has girl parts, and chances are she's had to talk about them to her (often male) doctor a lot more than you've had to talk about yours. Testicle pain is worth a trip to the doctor.



Doctor talking to patient in medical practice
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The suffix "-itis" simply means inflammation. Orchitis, like epididymitis, is usually from an infection. In the case of orchitis, the infection settles in the testicle itself (orches means testicle). Most cases of viral orchitis come from the mumps virus. Orchitis can also come from epididymitis that's left untreated.

Orchitis needs to be treated because it can lead to plenty of complications if it's not, including sterility.


Testicular Torsion

Danger, little Robinson kid! Danger!

Testicular torsion is a true medical emergency that requires surgery and it has a very short deadline. If it's not treated, the testicle may be lost.

Besides pain, look for the affected testicle to be hanging higher than it usually does. It might not, but that's a bad sign if it is. Testicular torsion is usually a young man's condition (10-20 years old). Older guys can get it, but that's rare.



An infection in the tube that runs from the testicle to the vas deferens. Epididymitis is usually caused by an infection, which means only a prescription will help. There's no first aid help for epididymitis.

Since you can only get a prescription from your doctor, it looks like you'll be going to the clinic after all.

In case you were wondering where the infection came from, the most common infections in this area are from sexually transmitted diseases.


Epididymal Hypertension (Blue Balls)

First, the good news: You're not going to die or lose a nut. We've all heard the stories of blue balls and some have even experienced it for themselves. In most cases, it's a young man.

This is the only condition on this list that doesn't require a visit to the doctor.

So goes the usual version: after a long period of arousal followed by, well, nothing, there is a significant pressure and pain in the testicles. It's a significant pain--some would say debilitating.

Most guys aren't willing to talk about it, so explanations of this phenomenon most often come from the place where so many guys really learn the meat and potatoes of their sexuality: stand up comedy.

At least that's how it happened in my day. Today you probably just searched for it online, which explains why you're reading it here.


Inguinal Hernia

When I was a kid, I had an old basketball that I regularly left outside. Eventually, and it took a long time, the outside of the ball got brittle from the weather. It split and the rubber inner part of the basketball that held the air started poking out through the hole. My basketball had a hernia.

I've seen it with bicycle tires, too, when the tire splits and the tube peeks out. Something very similar happens when a weak spot in muscle ruptures and the viscera (internal organs) behind it pop out. The most common spot for this to happen is in the groin area. It's called an inguinal hernia.

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  1. Trojian TH, Lishnak TS, Heiman D. Epididymitis and Orchitis: An OverviewAmerican Family Physician. 2009;79(7):583-587.

  2. The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association. Testicular Torsion.

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Epididymitis. Last reviewed February 7, 2018.

  4. Cleveland Clinic. Hernia. September 27, 2018.