Scrotal masses

Scrotal masses are abnormalities in the contents of the scrotum, the bag of skin hanging behind the penis. The scrotum contains the testicles and related structures that produce, store and transport sperm and male sex hormones.

Scrotal masses might be an accumulation of fluids, the growth of abnormal tissue, or normal contents of the scrotum that have become swollen, inflamed or hardened.

Scrotal masses need to be examined by a doctor, even if you're not in pain or having other symptoms. Scrotal masses could be cancerous or caused by another condition that affects testicular function and health.

Self-examination and regular doctor exams of the scrotum are important for prompt recognition, diagnosis and treatment of scrotal masses.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Signs and symptoms of scrotal masses vary depending on the abnormality. Signs and symptoms might include:

  • An unusual lump
  • Sudden pain
  • A dull aching pain or feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain that radiates throughout the groin, abdomen or lower back
  • Tender, swollen or hardened testicle
  • Tender, swollen or hardened epididymis (ep-ih-DID-uh-mis), the soft, comma-shaped tube above and behind the testicle that stores and transports sperm
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Redness of the skin of the scrotum
  • Nausea or vomiting

If the cause of a scrotal mass is an infection, signs and symptoms also might include:

  • Fever
  • Urinary frequency
  • Pus or blood in the urine

When to see a doctor

Seek emergency medical care if you develop sudden pain in your scrotum. Some conditions require prompt treatment to avoid permanent damage to a testicle.

See your doctor if you detect a lump in your scrotum, even if it's not painful or tender, or if you experience other symptoms of a scrotal mass.

Some scrotal masses are more common in children. See your doctor if your son experiences symptoms of a scrotal mass, if you have any concerns about the development of his genitals or if he is "missing" a testicle — an undescended or retractile testicle, which might increase the risk of some scrotal masses later in life.

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