Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Testicular Lumps: Causes, symptoms and how an ultrasound can help with diagnosis

December 13, 2023, 22:12

A testicular lump is any mass that forms in one or both of the testicles. They are quite common and can occur at any age. Adult men, teenagers, and even younger boys can experience lumps, which might appear in one or both testicles.

Finding a lump doesn't necessarily mean something serious. In fact, most lumps are harmless or benign, meaning they're not cancerous and often don't need treatment. However, it's wise not to overlook them—they can also indicate an underlying medical issue that needs attention.

Your health truly is your greatest wealth, so if you notice any changes at all, get them checked out by a trusted healthcare professional. Schedule your testicular ultrasound scan today, get in touch, or learn more below.

The more you know, the better equipped you are to take steps toward optimal health.

Symptoms of a Lump in Your Testes

Noticing a testicular cyst or lump can be unsettling. How the lump feels and the symptoms it brings depend on the cause.

Let's look at some common signs:

  • Heaviness: Sometimes, a lump like a varicocele might make one testicle feel heavier than the other. It can also feel like a bag of worms.

  • Swelling: This is a common sign. A hydrocele, for instance, causes visible swelling. It's painless in infants but might cause discomfort in older boys and men.

  • Painless Lumps: Painless lumps like epididymal cysts usually don't hurt. But they might make a testicle feel unusually heavy.

  • Pain and Other Symptoms: Some lumps can make your testicles feel painful, tender, and swollen. They can also lead to fever, nausea, vomiting, and a testicle that sits higher or at an unusual angle.

If it's testicular cancer, the symptoms are a bit different:

  • Aches: A dull pain in the lower abdomen or groin area is common.

  • Sudden Changes: Look out for abrupt swelling in the scrotum.

  • Discomfort: You may feel mild discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.

  • Breast Changes: Enlarged or tender breast tissue can sometimes accompany testicular cancer.

  • Back Pain: Your back may hurt for no particular reason.

Remember, testicular cancer typically affects only one testicle.

Don't wait to schedule an appointment if you notice any of these symptoms. Early detection is the key to unlocking positive outcomes, so seek medical advice if something feels off.

Testes Lump Causes and Types

Here's a rundown of the most common types of testicular lumps:

  • Varicocele: This type of testicular lump occurs more than any other. It happens when the veins in the scrotum become enlarged, leading to a feeling of heaviness or soreness. Varicoceles can impact fertility, so medical consultation is a good idea if you have concerns.

  • Hydrocele: This involves fluid accumulation around the testicle, causing swelling and a smooth, elastic feel. Common in newborns, hydroceles typically resolve within a year. Adults might experience them, too, often due to injury or infection.

  • Epididymal Cysts and Spermatoceles: These fluid-filled sacs develop on the epididymis (the tube connecting the testicles and vas deferens). They're generally painless, though they can sometimes cause discomfort or swelling. Spermatoceles, containing sperm, are more frequent than epididymal cysts and often resolve naturally.

  • Epididymitis and Orchitis: Inflammations of the epididymis and testicle, these conditions are often triggered by bacterial infections, including STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

  • Testicular Torsion: This is a medical emergency where the spermatic cord twists, potentially cutting off blood supply to the testicle. This leads to severe pain and swelling and can occur at any age, though it's more common in young boys.

  • Hernias: Inguinal hernias develop where part of the intestine protrudes into the scrotum, causing a lump and pain.

  • Testicular Cancer: Though less common, it's the most prevalent cancer in young men.

Ultrasounds for Testicular Lump Diagnosis

When facing concerns about a lump in your testes, an ultrasound offers a reassuring first step. Let's explore how this technology works and its role in diagnosing various testes lump types.

What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that employs sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of your body. It's completely safe and non-invasive. This makes ultrasounds a widely preferred method for initial examinations of testicular lumps.

Types of Lumps It Can Diagnose

Ultrasounds are incredibly effective at differentiating between various kinds of testicular lumps. They can easily distinguish fluid-filled cysts, like hydroceles, from solid tumours, which could indicate cancer.

If the ultrasound reveals a solid mass, it often leads to further investigative measures, such as additional imaging tests or surgery to remove the testicle for closer examination.

Your ultrasound also checks for signs of infection or injury that could be causing discomfort or pain. It can identify varicoceles and hernias, as well as offer a detailed assessment of the size and structure of your testicles. The scan detects any signs of inflammation that could indicate other underlying health issues.

What to Expect During a Testicular Ultrasound

Heading in for a testicular ultrasound might feel a bit daunting, but it's a straightforward and comfortable process. Here's what you can expect so you walk in feeling prepared and at ease.

Before the Scan

First off, don't feel embarrassed or anxious about this scan. It's a routine procedure, and there's hardly any special preparation needed.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove any jewellery to make things easier. In some cases, you might be asked to change into a gown, so be prepared to undress underneath.

Bringing Support

It's completely okay to bring someone along for support. If having a friend or family member with you in the screening area makes you feel more reassured, that's absolutely fine.

During the Ultrasound

The ultrasound itself is painless and non-invasive. You'll lie on your back while the clinician applies a water-based gel to your testicles. This gel helps the handheld scanner glide smoothly and ensures better contact with your skin for clearer images. The clinician will then gently move the scanner over your testicles.

As the scanner does its job, it sends images to a screen, giving the doctor a detailed view of what's happening inside your scrotum. You won't feel any discomfort during this process. It's quick and straightforward.

After the Scan

You can return to your regular activities immediately following your scan. What's more, you'll likely get your results fast.

However, depending on what's found, further tests might be required to confirm a diagnosis or to get a more detailed understanding of your situation.

Take the Next Step for Your Health

If you've noticed any changes or have concerns about your testicular health, don't hesitate. Early detection and timely intervention can make all the difference.

Our clinic in London offers leading ultrasound services in a comfortable and compassionate environment. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with the care and attention you need.

Schedule your ultrasound appointment today at our London clinic and take a proactive step towards ensuring your health and peace of mind.


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