Health should be our top priority.
One way to support our health is to get informed about different problems and learn how to manage them effectively.
In this post, we discuss scrotal swelling and how to reduce it.
So if you have some symptoms you are worried about or just want to stay informed, keep reading this post.
What is scrotal swelling?
Scrotal swelling is defined as enlargement or swelling of the scrotum. As you already know, the scrotum is the sac of the skin that holds your testicles. Men can develop scrotum swelling at any age of life.
In some cases, scrotal swelling affects the whole scrotum. In other instances, this problem affects only one side of the scrotum, or it appears in the form of a swollen testicular lump.
Like every other form of swelling affecting our body, scrotal swelling can be either very painful or painless. In some cases, the condition can be alarming because it may lead to cancer.
That being said, in most cases, scrotal swelling is treatable and benign. For this reason, see your doctor if you experience symptoms of scrotal swelling, particularly pain.
In some severe cases, the absence of proper treatment or when the condition is left unmanaged, a patient may experience the loss of the testicle or both due to death of the tissue. Scrotal swelling can occur due to several causes, which will be discussed further in this post.
The most pronounced symptom of painful scrotal swelling is a visual enlargement of the scrotal sac. Other symptoms include a testicle lump and pain in the testicle and the scrotum.
The exact symptoms of scrotal swelling depend on the cause of this condition. For example, scrotal pain is not the same with each cause. Pain associated with testicular torsion occurs suddenly, while infection-related pain develops gradually. Also, pain is associated with urinary tract infections. Some men may have painless swelling.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling in the scrotum or testicle
- Redness or tenderness of the testicle and scrotum
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain during sexual intercourse and with ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
Men who experience symptoms of swelling of the scrotum need to see a doctor. To be clear, scrotal swelling is usually not an emergency. However, swelling itself can cause injury of the testicles and scrotal blood vessels, and it can affect fertility.
That’s why you should not ignore the symptoms you experience. See a doctor who will diagnose the problem after the scrotal ultrasound.
Several conditions can cause scrotum swelling. These include:
- Hydrocele – the sac filled with fluid that develops around the testicles. Sometimes hydroceles occur early in life and are connected to the baby’s hydrocele and undescended testicle, but they can affect men of all ages. When they occur later in life, hydroceles result from injury, infection, or other unclear reasons. What’s particularly tricky here is that communicating hydrocele type can act like a hernia.
- Inguinal hernia – develops when the portion of the intestines passes through the opening where hydroceles also can pass. The hernia is most common among obese men.
- Cyst – a small collection of fluid that often feels like a pimple. Cysts can be small or large and may occur due to injury or infection. In many cases, the cause of a cyst is unknown.
- Varicoceles – a swollen collection of the veins inside the scrotum. Often occurring in puberty, varicoceles can slow down the growth of a testicle
Other potential causes of scrotal swelling include:
- Testicle tumors
- Congestive heart failure
- Testicular trauma that causes scrotal hematoma
- Orchitis (acute inflammation of testes)
- Chronic epididymitis (infection or inflammation of the epididymis) or problems with spermatic cord, or epididymal cyst
- Inflammation or bacterial infection of scrotal skin
How to reduce scrotal swelling
Scrotal swelling is a manageable problem. The treatment options depend on the underlying cause of the testicular swelling.
As mentioned above, the cause of the scrotal swelling determines the exact treatment approach. For instance, if the cause of the swelling is an infection, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. If they fail to provide relief, the healthcare professional may prescribe intramuscular antibiotics. Another option is to hospitalize you and administer an IV.
Varicocele, hydrocele, and hernia usually require surgery.
Testicular tumor or cancer is treated with surgery or other approaches such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Besides doctor-recommended treatment, there are other ways to reduce scrotal swelling. Keep in mind the following tips are not a replacement for professional care and assistance.
1. Apply ice
Probably the first thing you do when you notice painful swelling on the body is to apply ice. You can do the same for scrotal swelling, too. But make sure you do it within 24 hours of noticing the enlarged testicle.
Ice reduces swelling and testicle pain because cold constricts blood vessels and decreases circulation in the affected area. Make sure to wrap the ice in a dry cloth. Avoid applying the ice directly onto the skin.
2. Wear athletic support
What you wear can either help manage scrotum swelling or aggravate it. One of the best strategies to tackle swelling in the scrotum is to wear a jockstrap or proper athletic support.
Athletic support may control swelling and alleviate the severity of symptoms you experience. Athletic support also protects the swollen testicle from further injury and irritations.
3. Take a sitz bath
Sitz bath is a type of bath that involves warm, shallow water. This kind of bath is more like a therapy that has the potential to alleviate inflammation and promote blood flow to the anogenital area.
A shallow or sitz bath is one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to reduce scrotal swelling.
4. Avoid strenuous activities
If you are an active man who works out regularly, engaging in strenuous activities may not be a wise idea if your scrotum is swollen.
Strenuous workouts and other activities can aggravate the discomfort and other symptoms you experience. This is particularly the case with swelling caused by epididymitis and varicoceles.
5. Take over the counter pain relief
If the pain associated with scrotal swelling is strong and sharp, you may need to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
6. Elevate the scrotum
Sometimes the simple treatments are the most effective. If your swollen scrotum happens due to injury or accumulation of fluid, you may want to lie down and elevate your scrotum.
One way to do that is to fold a towel and put it underneath to ensure your scrotum is elevated. This simple method can support proper blood flow and help you feel better.
Scrotal swelling can be benign, but in some rare cases, it can be alarming. Various causes can lead to swelling of the scrotum and symptoms you experience.
Perform a self-exam to have a better insight into the health of your genital area. Don’t ignore the symptoms. Be proactive in order to reduce the swelling and improve your quality of life.