Scrotal masses are lumps that can be felt in the scrotum, the bag of skin hanging behind the penis. The scrotum contains the testicles and related structures that create, store and transport sperm and male sex hormones.
Scrotal masses might be an accumulation of abnormal tissue, buildup of fluids or inflammation/hardening of the normal contents of the scrotum.
A scrotal mass can be noncancerous or cancerous. In any case, proper medical examination is vital to determine the cause, diagnosis and prevent further complications in regards to testicular function and health by treating the scrotal masses.
Signs and symptoms of scrotal masses might include:
- An abnormal lump
- Painless or painful lump
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Swelling in the scrotum
- Redness of the skin of the scrotum
- Tender, swollen or hardened testicle
- Pain that spreads throughout the groin, abdomen and lower back
- Sickness and vomiting
If the cause of a scrotal mass is an infection, signs and symptoms also might include:
- High temperature
- Frequent urination
- Bloody urine
There are a number of factors/disorders that can result in the development of an abnormality in the scrotum. These include:
- Testicular cancer: A tumor containing abnormal testicular tissue, creating a lump in the scrotum.
- Epididymitis: Inflammations of the structure on top of and behind the testicle that stores and transports sperm (epididymitis).
- Spermatocele: A painless, fluid filled sac in the scrotum.
- Orchitis: An inflammation of the testicle due to a viral infection (mumps).
- Hydrocele: An accumulation of excess fluid between the layers of sac that surrounds each testicle.
- Hematocele: A collection of blood in the scrotum.
- Varicocele: An enlargement of the veins within the scrotum.
- Inguinal hernia: A condition in which soft tissue breaks through a weak area in the abdominal muscles.
- Testicular torsion: A condition that involves twisting of the spermatic cord, which can result in the loss of blood circulation to the testicle and the loss of the testicle itself.
Factors that can increase the risk of a scrotal mass developing include the following:
- An undescended testicle (can cause inguinal hernia, testicular torsion or testicular cancer)
- Deformities of the testicles, penis or kidneys present at birth
- Personal or family history of testicular cancer
Complications that can arise from scrotal masses depend on the cause of the scrotal mass itself. A few complications that can affect the health and function of the testicle include:
- Poor development during puberty