Testicular torsion (say: “tess-tick-you-ler tor-shun”) occurs when the spermatic cord becomes twisted. This cuts off the blood supply to the testicles (see drawing).
The cause of testicular torsion is usually not known. It is more common in infant boys and boys who are going through puberty. Each year, about 1 in 4,000 men younger than 25 years of age gets it.
If you have testicular torsion, you will have severe pain in your scrotum. Your testicle may seem swollen or may look like it is higher in the scrotum than the other testicle. You may also have nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or blood in your semen.
You will need to have surgery to untwist the spermatic cord. You doctor may also secure the testicles to prevent them from becoming twisted in the future. This procedure is called an orchiopexy.
If you have pain in your scrotum, see your doctor right away. If you have testicular torsion, your testicle usually can be saved if you have surgery within 6 hours. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the damaged testicle will have to be removed.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff