Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Scrotal swelling



Scrotal swelling is abnormal enlargement of the scrotum, the sac surrounding the testicles.

Alternative Names

Swelling of the scrotum; Testicular enlargement

Common Causes
Home Care
  • Apply ice packs to the scrotum for the first 24 hours, followed by sitz baths to decrease swelling.
  • If the pain is severe, place a rolled-up towel between the legs just under the scrotum to help relieve pain and reduce swelling, but get medical attention to make sure it is not a torsion.
  • Wear a loose-fitting athletic supporter for daily activities.
  • Avoid excessive activity until the swelling disappears.
Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if:

  • You notice any unexplained scrotal swelling
  • The swelling is painful
  • You have a testicle lump
What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and take a medical history, which may include the following questions:

  • When did the swelling develop?
  • Did it develop suddenly?
  • Is it getting worse?
  • How big is the swelling (try to describe in terms such as "twice normal size" or "the size of a golfball")?
  • Does the swelling appear to be fluid?
  • Can you feel tissue in the swollen area?
  • Is the swelling in one part of the scrotum or in the entire scrotum?
  • Is the swelling the same on both sides (sometimes a swollen scrotum is actually an enlarged testicle, a testicular lump, or a swollen duct)?
  • Have you had surgery on the genital area?
  • Have you had an injury or trauma to your genitals?
  • Have you had a recent genital infection?
  • Does the swelling go down after you rest in bed?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Is there any pain in the area around the scrotum?

The physical examination will probably include a detailed examination of the scrotum, testicles, and penis. The combination of a physical exam and history will determine whether you need any tests.

Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics and pain medications, or recommend surgery. A scrotal ultrasound may be done to determine where the swelling is occurring.


Scrotal swelling can occur in males at any age. The swelling can be on one or both sides, and there may be pain. The testicles and penis may or may not be involved.

Testicular torsion is a serious emergency in which the testicle become twisted in the scrotum and loses its blood supply. If this twisting is not relieved quickly, the testicle may be lost permanently. This condition is extremely painful. Call 911 or see your health care provider immediately, because losing blood supply for just a few hours can cause tissue death and the loss of a testicle.


Schneck FX, Bellinger MF. Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 127.

Elder JS. Disorders and anomalies of the scrotal contents. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 545.

Review Date: 9/7/2008
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Home Page
Why Choose Us
Website Terms of Use

Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us

Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking

Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |