Each testicle is suspended from spermatic cords within the scrotum. These cords provide a passageway for sperm manufactured in the testes and supply blood to the testicles. When an abnormal twisting of the testicle and its spermatic cord occurs so that the supply of blood is cut off, this is called testicular torsion.
This condition is extremely painful, and prompt treatment is required so permanent damage can be avoided. If the oxygen from the lack of blood is cut off for too long, the testicle can die and gangrene can set in, requiring the testicle to be removed surgically. Infertility can be a result of testicular torsion. This condition occurs most often in young men between the ages of 12 and 18. Little can be done to prevent testicular torsion. Sometimes it occurs without any apparent cause, and other times it may be the result of strenuous physical activity.
SYMPTOMS OF A TWISTED TESTICLE
- sudden, severe pain on one side of the scrotum, especially after physical exertion or during sleep
- elevation of one testicle within the scrotum
- scrotal swelling and tenderness
- nausea and vomiting
- sensation of faintness
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE A TWISTED TESTICLE?
You should see your doctor immediately or go to your hospital’s emergency room.
Time is of the essence to prevent permanent damage or the loss of the testicle. If the testicle hasn’t returned to its normal position on its own, your doctor may try to untwist the testicle by hand, using gentle manipulation. Even if this is successful, the disorder can recur. Surgery may be necessary to untwist the testicle and stitch it into position to prevent torsion from occurring again.