Testicles, because they are outside the body, aren’t protected by muscles and bones. This makes it easier for testicles to be struck, hit, kicked or crushed.
Loosely attached to the body and made of a spongy material, testicles can usually absorb collisions without permanent injury. However, when the tough covering is torn or shattered, blood can leak, stretching the scrotum until tense. This can lead to infection.
If swelling does not go away or extreme pain lasts longer than an hour, the injury needs to be checked.
Testicular injuries are relatively uncommon, but you should be aware that they can happen. They most often occur in boys who play sports or are more active.
If your son’s testicles are struck or impacted some way, he will feel pain or might feel nauseated for a short time. With a minor injury, the pain and any other symptoms should gradually cease in less than an hour.
Treatment for minor injuries
- Pain relievers
- Gently support the testicles with supportive underwear
- Apply ice packs to the area
- Avoid strenuous activity for a few days
When to see a doctor
- Pain doesn’t subside or your son experiences extreme pain lasting longer than an hour
- Swelling or bruising of the scrotum or a puncture of the scrotum or testicles
- Nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away
Serious Testicular Injuries
- Testicular torsion — The testicle twists around, cutting off blood supply.
- This can occur from serious trauma to the testicles, strenuous activity, or for no apparent reason.
- Testicular torsion isn’t common. When it occurs, it’s most often occurs in ages 12 to 18.
- If it happens, see a doctor as soon as possible — within six hours. After six hours, there is a much greater possibility that complications could result. We may fix the problem by manually untwisting the testicles. If that treatment fails, surgery may be necessary.
- Testicular rupture — A rare type of testicular trauma that can happen when the testicles receives a forceful direct blow or when the testicles are crushed against the pubic bone (the bone forming the front of the pelvis), causing blood to leak into the scrotum. Testicular rupture causes extreme pain, swelling in the scrotum, nausea, and vomiting. Surgery is necessary to repair the ruptured testicle.
If your son plays sports, exercises frequently or lives an all-around active life, he should take precautions to avoid testicular injuries. Wear an athletic cup or athletic supporter.
- Cups are best used when participating in sports where testicles might get hit or kicked — football, hockey, soccer, or karate.
- An athletic supporter, or jock strap, is a cloth pouch to keep testicles close to your body. Athletic supporters are best for strenuous exercise — cycling, or doing any heavy lifting.