The London Clinic, 120 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JW

Scrotal Lumps

Scrotal Lumps Treatment

Within your scrotum are your testicles and the other structures important for production, storage and transfer of sperm. Ideally, you should check each month for scrotal lumps. If you notice an abnormal lump in your scrotum, you should always get this checked by a doctor, even if you have no other symptoms, as a scrotal mass is sometimes a sign of cancer.

Checking for Scrotal Lumps

Although a testicular abnormality present from birth or a family history of testicular cancer increase your risk of scrotal masses, all men should check their scrotum for lumps monthly. After a bath or shower is ideal, as the heat relaxes the scrotum, making lumps easier to find. Check for anything unusual on the surface of your scrotum and feel your scrotum for any changes. You should examine each testicle individually, rolling them between your thumb and fingers to check for any lumps. You should also check your epididymis for swelling, which you will find behind your testicle, but higher up.

Signs of Scrotal Lumps

The appearance of a lump in your scrotum can vary depending on its causes. Sometimes you will just notice an unusual mass, but other signs that may accompany the lump include:

  • A pain; this can be a sharp pain, a dull ache or a pain that travels through your groin, lower abdomen or back
  • A testicle that feels more swollen, tender or harder than usual
  • Scrotal swelling
  • Scrotal skin that appears redder
  • Feeling nauseated or vomiting
  • A high temperature, increased frequency of urination or blood and pus in your urine if caused by an infection

Causes of Scrotal Lumps

The causes of lumps in your scrotum are varied, but include:

  • An epididymal cyst. This is a benign cyst filled with fluid and usually located above your testicle.
  • Epididymitis. Your epididymis has the role of storing and transporting sperm and this may become infected by bacteria, causing inflammation.
  • Orchitis. A viral infection like mumps may cause inflammation within your testicle.
  • Hydrocele. Fluid may collect in the sac around your testicles due to an injury or infection of your scrotum.
  • Haematocele. Blood may collect in the sac surrounding your testicle due to scrotal injury.
  • Inguinal hernia. You may develop a scrotal lump if intestine or other internal tissue pokes through a weak spot.
  • Testicular torsion. If your spermatic cord twists, this can block the blood supply to your testicle, leaving it larger and in an elevated position.
  • Testicular cancer. Scrotal lumps that are cancerous are sometimes accompanied by a swollen scrotum and pain in the scrotum that may radiate elsewhere.

Diagnosing Scrotal Lumps

You should never ignore scrotal lumps or swelling, as even if your mass isn't cancerous, it may still affect your fertility and future health. When you attend your appointment, you can expect a physical examination. This involves feeling the scrotum and its contents, as well as the surrounding areas of your grain to check for abnormalities. Don't be surprised if your doctor also shines a bright light on to your scrotum, as this helps to identify the size, position and likely material of your scrotal mass. Besides the physical examination, you may also receive a range of tests. Providing a sample of urine can help identify the presence of bacteria or viruses. A blood sample may also show the presence of an infection, though a blood test is also available to exclude testicular cancer as a diagnosis. Additionally, an ultrasound scan provides further details about your scrotal mass. If testicular cancer is suspected, you may receive a CT scan to check whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

Treating Scrotal Lumps

The treatment you receive will depend on your diagnosis. For instance, masses caused by bacterial infections are treatable with antibiotics, while scrotal lumps that are viral in nature are treated just by rest, ice to reduce the swelling and painkillers. For non-cancerous scrotal masses, you may not receive any treatment if they don't cause you any discomfort and there is not an infection or fertility risk. However, they may need draining or removal if they are painful or there are associated risks with leaving them. Finally, if you have testicular cancer, surgical removal of the affected testicle, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are all likely treatment options. If you are concerned about scrotal lumps, don't delay making an appointment with Mr Mark Feneley.

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