Enlarged Testicle: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Medically Reviewed By Matt Coward, MD, FACS
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An enlarged testicle occurs when the testicle or surrounding structure swells. The swelling can be a symptom of inflammation, infection, injury, or disease. Depending on the underlying cause, the swelling may affect one or both testicles and may accompany pain or fever. An enlarged testicle may develop suddenly or gradually. Treatment for an enlarged testicle will vary based on the cause and may include medications or surgery.

Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments associated with an enlarged testicle.

What are the causes of an enlarged testicle?

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Some causes of an enlarged testicle include:

  • epididymitis, or inflammation of the tubes where the sperm cells mature and are stored
  • inguinal hernia, which occurs when part of the intestine pushes into the groin
  • mumps, a viral infection that can cause inflammation of the testicle
  • orchitis, which is inflammation typically occurring in only one testicle
  • infection of the scrotal sac
  • spermatocele, or a cyst in the scrotum
  • trauma or injury
  • varicocele, which occurs when blood pools in the scrotal veins
  • hydrocele, which is swelling in the scrotum resulting from fluid buildup

Although it is rare, testicular cancer can also cause an enlarged testicle. Other symptoms of testicular cancer can include:

  • a hard, painless testicular lump
  • swelling or a heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • pain in the scrotum, stomach, or lower back

An enlarged testicle may be a symptom of a serious condition that requires immediate evaluation in an emergency setting. Testicular torsion, which is a condition wherein blood flow to the testicle becomes cut off, requires prompt treatment to prevent lasting damage.

What other symptoms might occur with an enlarged testicle?

Other symptoms accompanying an enlarged testicle will vary depending on the underlying cause. These symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain or pressure
  • breast area changes, such as tenderness or swelling
  • difficult, painful, or burning urination
  • penis discharge
  • fever
  • pain associated with ejaculation
  • bloody semen
  • testicular pain
  • a scrotum that feels swollen, heavy, or painful
  • dilated blood vessels in the scrotum
  • a lump in the testicle

Seek immediate medical care or call 911 if you have an enlarged testicle and any of these serious symptoms:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sudden severe pain in the testicle, which may occur with swelling of one side of the scrotum

These symptoms might indicate testicular torsion and require prompt evaluation by a medical professional.

How do doctors diagnose an enlarged testicle?

To diagnose the cause of an enlarged testicle, a doctor will perform a physical examination and ask you about your medical and symptom history. Imaging tests such as ultrasounds scans can help doctors evaluate the inside of the scrotum.

If your doctor suspects a tumor, they may also order blood tests to look for tumor markers. 

What are the treatments for an enlarged testicle?

The treatment for an enlarged testicle will depend on the cause. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for infections and recommend over-the-counter medications to address pain and swelling. Home treatments may involve icing the testicle to reduce swelling or wearing supportive undergarments to relieve stress on the testicle.

Doctors may opt to drain or remove cysts, and different types of surgery may be necessary for conditions such as hydroceles or varicoceles.

If testicular cancer is causing an enlarged testicle, a healthcare professional will surgically remove the testicle. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery to remove lymph nodes or other surrounding tissues may also be necessary.

What are some potential complications of an enlarged testicle?

Because certain serious conditions can cause an enlarged testicle, not seeking treatment can result in severe complications and permanent damage.

Once your doctor has diagnosed the underlying cause, it is important for you to follow their treatment plan to reduce the risk of potential complications, including:

  • death of the testicular tissue
  • infertility
  • an abscess in the scrotum
  • spread of cancer
  • spread of infection
  • removal of the testicle

FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about enlarged testicles. Dr. Matt Coward has medically reviewed these answers.

Should I worry about an enlarged testicle?

You should talk with your doctor if you have an enlarged testicle. They will help you determine the cause and whether or not any treatment is needed. Although many causes of an enlarged testicle are mild, more serious conditions will require prompt treatment.

Does an enlarged testicle mean cancer?

In rare cases, an enlarged testicle can be a symptom of testicular cancer. In addition to testicular swelling, you may also have a hard lump in your testicle, pain in your abdomen or lower back, and pain or a heavy feeling in your scrotum.

Will an enlarged testicle go away?

In some cases, an enlarged testicle will decrease without any treatment. For example, a mild injury to the testicle will probably resolve after a few days. However, you should talk with your doctor even if your symptoms are mild to rule out any serious underlying conditions.

Summary

An enlarged testicle occurs when the testicle or surrounding structure swells. Common causes of an enlarged testicle include inflammation, infections, cysts, and fluid buildup. In rare cases, an enlarged testicle may be a symptom of testicular cancer.

You may experience other symptoms with an enlarged testicle, such as pain, fever, or painful urination. It is important to seek medical treatment if you have an enlarged testicle to avoid serious complications.

Talk with your doctor if you have an enlarged testicle. They can help diagnose the cause and determine the best treatment.

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Medical Reviewer: Matt Coward, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2022 May 30
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