What Could Your Testicular Lump Be -- Other Than Cancer?

If you've recently noticed a lump on (or inside) your scrotum, you may be nervous and filled with dread at the thought of being diagnosed with testicular cancer. However, there are a variety of relatively harmless conditions that can also result in unexplained lumps and bumps in your groin area. Before you worry too much, read on to learn more about some of the conditions that may have caused your recent lump, as well as some red flags that could indicate a more serious problem.

What are some harmless causes of testicular lumps?


The scrotum, penis, and testicles are at the base of an amazing array of veins, arteries, and blood vessels. Occasionally, one of the veins that travels inside the scrotum, near the testicles, develops some weakness -- and like varicose veins in the legs or feet, this varicocele can create a blood-filled lump. Because the varicocele is inside your scrotum and appears only flesh-toned from the outside, it's hard to distinguish this harmless lump from a potentially serious one. 

Although varicoceles are usually harmless, the excess blood can sometimes be enough to raise your testicular temperature by a few degrees -- so if you're trying to conceive, or planning to start soon, you may want to visit your doctor to ensure that your varicocele isn't inhibiting sperm production. In other cases, the vein may even wrap itself around your testicle, cutting off blood supply and eventually killing your testicle. This issue is easily treated by cauterization of the offending vein, a procedure similar to a vasectomy.

Epididymal cysts

An epididymal cyst is created when there's a blockage in the small tubes that carry sperm from your testicles to your urethra. These cysts often appear on top of your testicle, and are usually painless. An epididymal cyst may feel like a pea or other smooth lump, and you should be able to move it from side to side a bit. This cyst shouldn't need to be treated, and may even go away on its own.

When should you see a doctor?

Most benign lumps and testicular issues are painless, so whenever you're experiencing unexplained testicular pain, you should see a urologist. You'll also want to make an appointment if you feel the lump you've noticed is growing, spreading, or changing shape, or if you're suddenly unable to achieve or maintain an erection. However, if you're not experiencing any of the above symptoms, it's likely you have nothing to worry about with regard to your testicular health.