Diseases of the testicles
The following is an overview and brief description of the most important diseases of the testes. For more information, refer to our corresponding articles in each section.
The testicles are the internal, male sexual organ or also the gonads of men. In the course of embryonic development, they are created in pairs in the abdomen and then migrate into the scrotum. From puberty onwards, sperm are produced in both testicles. The testicles are used for reproduction. In addition, male sex hormones are produced in the testes, especially testosterone. The epididymis are superimposed on the testicle.
Common diseases related to the testicles
First we would like to give you an overview of the three most common diseases related to the testicles in the form of a list:
- Inflammation of the epididymis
- Testicular cancer
These and many other diseases of the testicles are explained in more detail below in categories.
Twisting of the testicle
Testicular torsion is a sudden twisting of a testicle. As a result, the blood vessels supplying the testicles and the vas deferens are squeezed off. This leads to a reduced blood supply to the testicle, which in the worst case can lead to death. It is an emergency that should be resolved within six hours to prevent death.
This situation typically occurs in children, adolescents or young men and is characterized by acute pain. This clinical picture mainly occurs in the first year of life or during puberty. Either accidents or congenital excessive mobility of the testicle can be the cause. But it can just as well be the result of an unfortunate move.
A testicular torsion must be operated on as quickly as possible. The scrotum is opened under general anesthesia and the twisted testicle is untwisted and, if necessary, fixed in the scrotum to prevent renewed testicular torsion.
Here you find detailed information: Testicles twisted
If the testicle is twisted, the testicle may die. This may require the use of testicular implants. Read more about this at: Testicular Implants - Why Are These So Popular?
Abnormalities and malformations
The hydrocele is a painless accumulation of fluid in the area of the scrotum.
This can even be felt as a bulging, elastic bladder. Reasons for the formation of a hydrocele can be a previous inflammation, an edematous cause, a serious injury to the testicle or an insufficient fusion of individual components of the scrotum.
The hydrocele can occur at any age and is reliably diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound device or fluoroscopy of the testicle.
If this phenomenon occurs within the first year, the hydrocele can still regress, so that the first thing to do here is to wait and see. However, as the patients get older, surgical opening of the fluid-filled bladder is the only consistent therapy option.
You can find detailed information here: Water in the testicle
A varicocele is an enlargement of the blood vessel in the testicle area. This is usually caused by a blood flow problem in the pelvis. As a result, there is also swelling of the scrotum. Depending on the extent of the swelling, the initially painless increase in size can result in a painful enlargement.
Since the varicocele is rather a symptom of a blood flow disorder than an independent disease, it is important to remove the flow obstruction, which automatically reduces the dilation of blood vessels in the testicle.
If the varicocele is not treated, complications of fertility problems can occur.
The testicle is outside the abdomen and the temperature is 1-2 ° C less for this reason. At this temperature, sperm can be produced. However, the outflow disturbance leads to an increase in temperature, which endangers sperm production.
Read more about this: Varicose veins on the testicles - that's how dangerous it is
The spermatocele is an enlargement of the testicle. In contrast to the hydrocele, this enlargement is not filled with liquid but with sperm.
The spermatocele is caused by an impaired drainage of the vas deferens from the epididymis to the seminal vesicle. A constriction in this way leads to a “sperm congestion”, whereupon a bubble is formed in which the sperm accumulate.
The diagnosis can be made with the help of an ultrasound examination and the typical information provided by the patient about his symptoms. If the spermatocele does not cause any symptoms, it does not necessarily have to be treated. However, if it develops into a painful swelling, surgical removal is the method of choice. However, the surgery leads to sterility of the affected testicle.
Read more on the subject at: Epididymal cyst
Testicular retention is an incomplete sinking of the testicles into the scrotum. During the time in the womb, the testicles are still in the baby's abdomen and only find their final place at birth.
The cause of incomplete descent is, in most cases, caused by a lack of male hormones.
Children's testicles must be checked during pediatric medical check-ups. If there are any abnormalities, the further descent of the testes can first be brought about with the help of medication. If this measure does not lead to success, the testicle is surgically fixed to the bottom of the scrotum.
Read more on the subject here Undescended testicles.
The pendulum testicle pulls itself into the inguinal canal when the testicle lifter is tensed. When it is relaxed, however, it can easily be pushed back into the scrotum so that no treatment is required.
You may also be interested in this topic: Testicular hernia
If the testicle is missing on one side, it is called a monarchy. The absence of a testicle can be attributed to the fact that one of the testicles dies in the womb, for example due to a twist. In children with only one testicle, it grows in a compensatory manner.
If the testicle is missing, testicular implants can be used. These fill the scrotum, make the testicles appear full and cannot be seen from the outside. Read more about this under: Testicular Implants - Why Are These So Popular?
An additional testicle can result from an accidental division of the gonads before the eighth week of pregnancy.
Infectious diseases and inflammation
Abscess of the scrotum
An abscess is a collection of pus under the skin, in this case under the skin of the scrotum.
This is often caused by inflammation of hair follicles. The skin region of the scrotum is red, swollen, overheated and painful in the case of an abscess. The treatment consists of surgical relief of the abscess. If one does not act early, there is a possibility that Fournier's gangrene will occur as a complication. This is a soft tissue infection that can be life threatening.
Read more on this topic: Abscess on the testicle- what are the risks?
Inflammation of the testicles
Testicular inflammation is most commonly caused by the mumps virus.
However, it can also be triggered by bacteria, fungi, parasites or non-infectious, for example by an accident. The scrotum is usually red, swollen, overheated and painful on one side. You may also experience pain when urinating or a fever.
Since testicular swelling is relatively unspecific and can also occur with other clinical pictures, further diagnostics should be carried out. If the inflammation is certain, it helps to elevate the scrotum, to cool it and to have the course checked regularly by a urologist.
You can find detailed information at:
- What are the causes of testicular inflammation?
- Fungus on the testicle
Epididymitis can be a complication of a sexually transmitted disease, a bacterial or viral infection, or it can occur as part of a dragged-on urinary tract infection. Other reasons could be violence on the testicles or a so-called autoimmune reaction.
The affected person usually complains of unilateral pain in the testicle. The scrotum is reddened on the corresponding side, slightly swollen and slightly warmed up compared to the other side.
The doctor uses an ultrasound device and the laboratory values of a blood sample to confirm the diagnosis. As a self-test, the patient can lift the testicle. If the pain sensation then decreases, this is an indication of the presence of an inflammation of the testicles or epididymis.
The treatment consists of elevation and discreet cooling of the testicle. In terms of medication, antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents, such as ibuprofen, are available to combat inflammation.
Get more detailed information here: Epididymitis
Malignant testicular tumors
Malignant testicular tumors are more common in young and middle-aged men. The tumors can arise from different tissues and differ in their frequency and treatment.
Sufferers usually notice an enlargement or swelling of the scrotum, but typically have no pain.
At a visit to the urologist, the scrotum should be scanned and examined with the ultrasound. In addition, a blood sample is recommended to determine tumor markers. Ultimate certainty, however, can only be obtained by looking at a small tissue sample under the microscope.
In the treatment of testicular tumors, a quick start is indicated, since the testicular tumor can be counted among the rapidly growing tumors.
The operation is the first choice for all malignant testicular tumors, in which the affected testicle is completely removed. In addition, all adjacent lymph nodes should also be checked and removed if necessary in order to minimize the risk of recurrence.
The follow-up treatment of the testicular tumor depends on its size and the presence of metastases. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy are available here.
Here you find detailed information: Testicular cancer
If the testicle is surgically removed, testicular implants can be used. These fill the scrotum, make the testicles appear full and cannot be seen from the outside. Read more about this under: Testicular Implants - Why Are These So Popular?
Benign testicular tumors
Benign tumors of the testicle are very rare. However, they can also turn into malignant tumors after a period of time.
Therefore, it makes sense to see a urologist if you have a benign testicular tumor.