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Last updated March 30, 2017 (originally published October
29, 2014

By L. Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Men have a sensitive relationship with their testicles, which is
not surprising since they have the potential to cause a man a
lot of pain. Have you recently discovered one testicle looks
and feels strange? Is one of your family jewels a little bigger
than you’re used to? One-sided testicular swelling is when
one testicle is enlarged, or the scrotum in general is swollen
with one testicle affected more than the other. A swollen
testicle may be accompanied by pain and other symptoms,
depending on the cause. What are the causes of this
condition? Is a swollen testicle something for concern?

What Causes One Testicle to Swell?

A problem with your testicles doesn’t have to affect both.
any men find that only one testicle is painful and swollen.
Having just one swollen testicle can be even more worrying
than two
. You wonder what exactly is wrong, and why you
are experiencing pain on one side only.

Reasons for one swollen testicle are diverse
--- from mumps
to twisted testicle, hernia to epididymitis.
 A varicocele and
testicular cancer can also cause testicular swelling on
one side.

Is Having One Swollen Testicle Dangerous?

No one wants to have one swollen testicle, but is the
condition actually dangerous
enough to require urgent
medical attention? In some cases, yes.

Some causes of swollen testicle constitute a medical
emergency. For example, testicular torsion
 --- when the
spermatic cord twists around the testicle and cuts off the
blood supply
 --- can result in the loss of a testicle if not
treated swiftly.

A painless lump or swelling in the testicle can be a sign of
testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is one of the cancers that
is easiest to cure if caught early, so a pain-free lump should
be checked out as soon as possible.

How Many Men Suffer from a Swollen Testicle?

Most men, at some point in their life, will notice a swollen
testicle, especially if they often play sport or are at risk of
damaging the testicles in some other way.

Figures show that 25 out of 10,000 men suffer from acute
epididymitis (inflammation of the coiled tube at the back of
the testicle) in a year, according to a 2010 study from
Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK, and that the
condition is most common in patients aged between 13 and
30, and men aged above 60.

Each year, the problematic condition of testicular torsion
hurts one in 4,000 males below the age of 25 years,
according to the University of Missouri–Columbia School of
Medicine, Columbia, Missouri, 1989.

If you suffer pain or swelling in a testicle, don’t ignore it.
Many men become coy when faced with talking about their
testicles with a doctor, but it is important to rule out serious
problems and also bring down the swelling for a better
quality of life.

Here we look at recent scientific studies to find out how to
treat swelling in one testicle, and the causes of this
problematic symptom.

Hernia is a Common Cause of a Swollen Testicle

A hernia in the groin (otherwise known as an inguinal hernia)
happens when the muscle in the abdomen is weakened, and a
loop of intestine pushes downwards causing a swollen bulk in
the testicle or scrotum.

A hernia is painful, although the pain is usually in the
abdominal area. A hernia that causes swelling in the testicle
can be resolved with an operation to push the bulge of
intestine back into its correct place.

According to a 2008 study from the Juliane Marie Centre,
Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
, a cream made from
capsaicin helps with soft tissue pain and pain after hernia
repair surgery.

[Editor's note:

Capsaicin in the compound which makes peppers taste hot.
The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.
Capsaicin has been found effective in relieving many different
types of pain and inflammation.

Be aware, however, that capsaicin is an irritant and can cause
an allergic reaction. You should test a bit of the capsaicin
cream on your arm before applying it to the family jewels.]

Epididymitis Causes One Testicle to Swell

Epididymitis is when the coiled tube at the back of your
testicle becomes inflamed. This tube is called the epididymis
and it is used to store and carry sperm. Other symptoms
include discharge, pain during intercourse, blood in the
semen, and pain in the abdomen.

Causes of epididymitis include sexually transmitted infections
like gonorrhea or chlamydia. Because epididymitis is usually
painful, remedies include strategies to relieve the discomfort
including bed rest, cold packs on the scrotum, and avoidance
of sexual intercourse and heavy lifting until the infection has

How a Twisted Testicle Causes Swelling

If your testicle swells rapidly and you also experience intense
pain in the testicle, seek medical help immediately. You may
be suffering from testicular torsion, or twisted testicle.

This condition occurs when the spermatic cord wraps itself
around the testicle, cutting off the blood supply.

Surgery is required to correct the problem and the testicle is
saved in 90 percent of cases if the surgery takes place within
six hours of the onset of swelling, according to a 1996 study
from King’s College Hospital, London, UK.

If you wait for 24 hours, the rate goes down to 10 percent of
testicles saved.

A Swollen Testicle Caused by Varicocele

A varicocele is an enlargement of the scrotum veins and it can
result in swelling in one testicle.

The varicocele is similar to a varicose vein in the leg, but it
affects your scrotum, sometimes resulting in low sperm
production and a
decrease in sperm quality.

If swelling in the scrotum is caused by varicocele and this is
affecting your sperm quality, you can try horse chestnut,
which may help to improve sperm count as a result of
varicocele, according to a 2010 study from the University of
Missouri, Columbia. (Sperm quality is declining in countries
around the world.
Read more.)

Mumps May Result in Testicular Swelling

According to the UK’s National Health Service, swelling of the
testicle affects one in four men who get mumps after puberty.

The swelling normally affects one testicle only and may also
cause redness and tenderness.

The testicular swelling begins four to eight days after the
glands in the neck swell, although it may occur up to six
weeks later.

Mumps is not a common disease since the start of widespread
vaccinations but it could be a cause of swelling in one testicle.
Pain caused by the swelling can be eased with over-the-
counter painkillers and warm or cool compresses.

Testicular Cancer May Be a Cause of a Swollen Testicle

Testicular cancer is a highly treatable form of cancer and can
occur in one or both testicles, according to the American
Cancer Society.

The first symptom of testicular cancer is most often a swelling
or a lump in one testicle.

Most times, the swelling does not cause pain.

The American Cancer Society says around 8,820 new cases of
testicular cancer will be found in 2014. The average age for
sufferers is 33. In total, 380 men will die – but it is worth
remembering that testicular cancer can usually be treated
successfully. If you feel a lump, get it checked out. (Read
more about
signs of testicular cancer.)

Orchitis and Testicular Swelling

Orchitis is the term for inflammation of the testicles, which
affects one testicle or both, and is caused by an infection
is either viral or bacterial in nature

Orchitis can be an extension of epididymitis.

Viral orchitis affects between 15% and 25% of all boys or
men who have mumps and bacterial orchitis is even rarer,
according to a Dr. Stephan Bornstein, writing in the  
"Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms and Defense".

Orchitis causes localized pain and swelling in the te
sticle which lasts for one or many days. If orchitis is caused
by bacteria you will need a course of antibiotics to treat the

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Hernias are a common cause of testicle swelling.
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