Testicular pain is something that can understandably frighten and frustrate many men. Below, we sat down for a quick Q&A with Dr. Natalya Lopushnyan to discuss her approach to diagnosing and treating testicular pain that isn't the result of an infection, hernia, or cancer.
As with all content on Greater Boston Urology's blog, the following information is educational in nature, not medical advice. Always talk to your physician about your specific health care questions and conditions.
[Editor's note: This article was reviewed and updated with additional links on 1/4/22.]
What happens when a patient presents with testicular pain?
Dr. Lopushnyan: When I see a person with testicular pain, I want to make sure there's no infection, hernia, or tumor. For that purpose, we would do some tests and we would get a testicular ultrasound or scrotal ultrasound. Once we've ruled out those causes, we will proceed with further treatments.
What happens next once you rule out infection, hernia, or cancer?
Dr. Lopushnyan: This is where it can get frustrating for patients and doctors alike. When I talk about what is chronic testicular pain, I like to compare it to migraines or headaches. Many people in the world suffer from migraines and headaches, but not a lot of those people have brain tumors. Yes, there is true pain that you may suffer from, but there is no anatomic reason that we can find for that pain. And what's interesting is that probably the reason for testicular pain and headaches are the same: it's the result of nerves misfiring or acting up in a way they shouldn't be.
Is there a way to treat these "misfiring" nerves?
Dr. Lopushnyan: We actually treat testicular pain frequently with medications that are used for migraines. If that doesn't work, there are other options. There are cord blocks where we would actually inject numbing medication around the testicle to numb up those nerves that misfire or that act up in an inappropriate way. And if that doesn't work, we can take and strip those nerves down and get rid of them completely, and that seems to be very useful and has a very high success rate for some patients.
What's the biggest takeaway that you want people to understand regarding testicular pain?
Dr. Lopushnyan: If you have testicular pain, please don't be embarrassed. Talk to your doctor about it because we can help.
Thanks, Dr. Lopushnyan! Watch Dr. L talk about testicular pain in the video below.