Varicocele (testicular lumps)

Testicular swelling

Lumps or swelling in the testicles (balls) should be checked by a consultant


Lumps or swelling in the testicles are not usually an indication of anything serious. However, it could be a sign of testicular cancer. This is easy to treat if caught early.

You should always see your consultant if you find:

- a lump in your testicles
- a change in the shape, feel or size of your testicles
- an ache in your testicles that doesn't go away

Need to know

  • Symptoms of varicocele icon plus

    Your consultant will be able to advise you about the symptoms you have. Most causes of varicoceles are harmless, such as a build-up of fluid (cyst) or swollen veins in the testicles (varicocele). But sometimes they can be a sign of something serious, such as testicular cancer. If you get a sudden unbearable pain in your testicles or tummy you should seek immediate help through accident and emergency. This could be the result of a twisted testicle and needs urgent treatment.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    To find the cause of your testicular lump or swelling your consultant may: 

    • examine your testicles
    • shine a light through the scrotum
    • to check for a build-up of fluid
    • recommend a testicular ultrasound scan
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment depends on the cause. You might not need treatment if it doesn't cause any problems and isn't getting worse. If it's painful or very big, you may be referred to a specialist for an operation to drain, shrink or remove the infected testicle. If testicular cancer is suspected you'll be referred to an oncologist for tests, diagnosis and advice on treatment.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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