Scrotal pain in young boys and adolescents can be a sign of a real problem that may require immediate medical attention. If you child is in extreme pain, it's important to contact a doctor right away. Pain in the scrotum or testicle can be brought on suddenly or may start as a swelling in the area that progressively gets worse. While pain in the scrotal area is not common, it should not be ignored.
CAUSES OF SCROTAL PAIN
There are several conditions that may be causing your son's scrotal pain:
- Testicular torsion - The spermatic cord becomes twisted, cutting off blood supply to the testicle. The spermatic cord connects the testicle to the reproductive organs and contains blood vessels, muscles and nerves and is the tube that carries sperm. If this cord becomes twisted, blood supply to the testicle will be cut off and can permanently damage the testicle. While not common, testicular torsion causes severe pain and requires immediate medical attention and surgery to repair and untwist the spermatic cord before permanent damage to the testicle is done.
Testicular torsion is most common in boys after the onset of puberty. But, it can occur at anytime after birth. Any severe scrotal pain that lasts longer than one hour should be examined by your child's pediatrician immediately who may refer you to a pediatric urologist.
- Incarcerated hernia - This type of hernias should be seen by a surgeon familiar with the care of this condition.
- Orchitis -This is an inflammation of the testicle sometimes caused by an infection. This condition can be a cause of testicular discomfort and does not require surgery.
- Epididymitis - This is a bacterial infection of the structure behind the testicle involved in the development of sperm and treatment is determined by the underlying cause.
TREATING SCROTAL PAIN
A pediatric urologist will prescribe treatments based on the known cause of your child's pain.
For testicular torsion, surgery within four to six hours of the onset of the pain to untwist the spermatic cord is vital to saving the testicle and preserving fertility and function (although fertility can be achieved with one testicle).
For a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic to clear up the infection.
Many conditions resolve on their own over time and are not benefitted by specific treatment other than pain management.