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Testicular lumps and swellings - Symptoms of testicular lumps and swellings

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Always visit your GP if you find a lump or swelling on one or both of your testicles.

In most cases, a lump or swelling is not cancerous, but you should always have it checked by a healthcare professional.


Varicoceles usually develop on the left side. This is due to the way the veins in the testicles drain into the abdomen (tummy).

They develop as a soft lump in the scrotum and can feel like a "bag of worms". The size of varicoceles can vary. Some may only be noticeable when you touch them. Others can be larger and seen easily. The side of the scrotum that contains the varicoceles may hang slightly lower than the other side.

In most cases, varicoceles do not cause any symptoms. However, up to one in 10 men may experience a heavy feeling or aching pain in their:

  • scrotum 
  • groin

Varicoceles may be linked to infertility. However, there is no evidence that surgically removing them improves fertility rates.


Hydroceles can affect newborn babies. In almost all cases, the only symptom is a painless swelling of one or both testicles. Hydroceles can sometimes affect older boys or men, who may feel discomfort in the scrotum.

Epididymal cysts

An epididymal cyst is a small, smooth fluid-filled swelling that develops behind and above the affected testicle.

Epididymal cysts are often painless, but your testicle may ache or feel heavy. You may experience some pain and discomfort if the cyst puts pressure on structures in or around your testicle.

You should visit your GP for a check-up if you have any symptoms that affect your testicles.

Testicular torsion

Unlike the other types of benign (non-cancerous) testicular lumps, testicular torsion is a medical emergency.

Dial 999 for an ambulance if you suspect that you or someone you know has testicular torsion.

In cases of testicular torsion, surgery needs to be carried out as soon as possible to avoid the loss of the testicle.

The symptoms of testicular torsion usually begin with a severe pain in one of your testicles. Other possible symptoms include:

  • swelling of the scrotum 
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting
  • abdominal (tummy) pain
  • a low grade fever
  • a frequent need to urinate

Some men with testicular torsion may have had episodes of testicular pain and swelling in the past.

Medical Review: September 29, 2012
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