Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What causes dull aches in the testes?"


Is there a disease that causes a dull ache in the testicles? I've read that there are conditions which cause sharp pains (like torsion), and what I have doesn't seem anything like that. If I decide to go to a doctor, what kind of specialist would be best for something like this?


Testicular pain has a number of causes. One true emergency to rule out immediately is testicular torsion, which presents as very severe, sharp, one-sided testicular pain; the scrotum often appears swollen and the testicle that is torsed will often be pulled up closer to the body. Often, when men present with pain in the scrotum, the pain is not actually originating from the testicles, but rather from the surrounding structures.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

One such cause is epididymitis; this is inflammation of the epididymis, a coiled group of tubules sitting on top of the testicles. Epididymitis may be acute or chronic, is often due to infection, and may be accompanied by painful urination and increased frequency of urination. Another cause of non-testicular scrotal pain is an inguinal hernia, which is when part of the intestine protrudes down through the abdominal wall into the scrotum. A varicocele, or abnormally dilated vein in the scrotum, can cause a similar type of dull ache. A dull ache originating from the testicle itself could be due to a benign mass such as a cyst, or more rarely, due to a more serious condition such as testicular cancer. With your symptoms, it is advisable to see your primary care physician. He or she can perform a thorough physical exam, check the urine for signs of infection, and have you undergo a scrotal ultrasound, which is the first step in imaging any pathology in the scrotum.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.