The penis and the testicles are external organs that are part of the male reproductive system. The testicles are responsible for producing semen and testosterone and are held by a bag of skin called the scrotum. The penis acts as a passageway for semen and urine to be carried out of the body. Though the thought of “having balls” makes you feel strong and manly, the penis and testicles are actually very sensitive parts of the body. They are susceptible to many kinds of diseases, conditions, and injuries that can cause them pain and discomfort. Such pain can be internal or external. Some can be caused by skin irritations, lesions, or trauma to the particular area. And some can be a result of some serious condition that may require immediate medical attention. Here are some of the common causes of penis and testicle pain.
If your penis remains erect for extended periods of time without sexual stimulation or arousal, then you may be suffering from priapism. It is a painful condition that can last for hours. If it is not treated on time, it can lead to severe penile damage and may result in an inability to sustain an erection and impotence.1 Such a prolonged erection is generally caused by changes in the blood flow to the penis, which can be contributed by diabetes, blood disorders, injury, nervous system diseases, or side effects of medications.
A scrotal mass can be caused by the accumulation of fluid, abnormal tissue growth or the hardening of the contents of the scrotal sac. Testicular cancer or an infection such as the mumps can cause these issues. You may feel pain or tenderness in one or both your testicles as a result.2
Testicular torsion can be a painful experience. It occurs when one of the testicles rotates in the scrotum, twisting the spermatic cord and restricting the blood flow to the testicles. Its symptoms include sudden pain in one of your testicles and also your abdomen, swelling of the scrotum, and nausea and vomiting. You need to get it looked at by your doctor immediately as it is a serious condition. If it is not treated on time, you may end up being infertile. You should get it checked even if the testicle untwists on its own just to make sure there are no complications.3
4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
STDs like chlamydia, genital herpes, human papillomavirus infection, chancroid, and gonorrhea can infect the genital area and can cause penile and testicular discomfort or pain. Gonorrhea can cause painful urination, chlamydia can cause discomfort and itching at the opening of your penis, genital herpes can cause blisters on your penis, chancroid can cause sores and boils on your penis, and human papillomavirus can infect lesions on your penis and can result in pain during intercourse. If you suspect an STD, it is advisable to get yourself tested right away. Timely treatment can control or prevent the progression of the disease.4
An Inguinal hernia is caused when your intestine protrudes through a weak area of your lower abdomen. It is a painful condition, which is not a serious one on its own but can result in life-threatening complications. It can result in testicular pain and swelling if your intestines protrude through your abdominal wall into the scrotum. This condition needs immediate medical attention to prevent complications.5
|↑1||Kulmala, Rauno V., Timo A. Lehtonen, and Teuvo LJ Tammela. “Preservation of potency after treatment for priapism.” Scandinavian journal of urology and nephrology 30, no. 4. 1996.|
|↑2||Crawford, Paul, and Justin A. Crop. “Evaluation of scrotal masses.” Am Fam Physician 89, no. 9. 2014.|
|↑3||Ringdahl, Erika, and Lynn Teague. “Testicular torsion.” American family physician 74, no. 10. 2006.|
|↑4||Workowski, Kimberly A., Stuart M. Berman, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2006.” MMWR recomm Rep 55, no. RR-11. 2006.|