The scrotum is the medical term used to describe the outer sac of the male reproductive system which contains and protects the testicles.
Sometimes, men can notice painful or non-painful lumps in their scrotum. These lumps are often formed of fluid or a swelling of normal scrotal tissue. Very rarely are these lumps serious.
Our experienced specialists will determine whether any further investigations need to be requested based upon an in depth history of symptoms and a clinical examination of the area. Coughing Depending on the location, size and nature of the lump on clinical examination certain tests may be considered which include:
- Ultrasound scan (normally the primary test)
- MRI scan
- Blood tests
- Tissue biopsy (in rare cases)
Some causes of scrotal lumps may include the following:
- Hydrocele (fluid collection)
- An enlargement of the veins in the scrotal sac (varicocele)
- Inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis)
- Infection or tumours are very rare causes of scrotal masses
In almost all cases hydrocele, hernia and varicocele are entirely self limiting conditions. As such, in the vast majority of cases where the scrotal lump has been clinically assessed and diagnosed as non-harmful your specialist may recommend no invasive treatment.
Invasive treatment for varicocele involves a surgical procedure to seal off the affected vein. This can be achieved by a specialist inserting a small tube in to a vein in the groin and releasing a fluid to create a scarring and blockage in the vein. Alternatively, surgeons may use a keyhole approach through the abdomen (laparoscopy) to directly repair the affected vein.
Inflammation of the epididymis may be treated with anti-biotics if the cause of the inflammation is found to be an underlying infection. In some cases these infections can be sexually transmitted and as such appropriate sexual health practices are always advised.
Invasive hernia treatment involves a surgical procedure. This surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and involves the surgeon carefully reducing the hernia manually and then inserting one or several thin meshes over the area. The meshes will then contain the hernia to prevent the lump recurring.
Cancerous causes of scrotal lumps are very rare. However, in these circumstances the exact treatment will often depend the exact type of malignancy and at what stage it is diagnosed. Treatment can involve surgery to remove the tumour in the kidney or bladder as well as a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to reduce tumour size.