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Help: My son’s scrotum is swollen!

Acute scrotal swelling usually occurs in post-pubertal boys, but it can be seen in a range of ages from babies to teens.

Talking about their private regions might be awkward for most boys but it’s important that your son tells you if he experiences genital pain, particularly in the scrotum or testes.

Scrotal swelling can be a source of alarm for parents of boys, but they’re actually quite common. This article discusses scrotal swelling, medically known as “scrotal oedema”.

What causes scrotal swelling in boys?

The scrotum is a pouch that contains the testicles. Scrotal oedema is a typical issue in infants and young boys. A variety of factors could cause it. Scrotal oedema is frequently classified as either painless or painful. Scrotal swelling might occur quickly. Or it could happen gradually over time. Among the possible causes are:

Hydrocele or hernia: A hernia is an intestinal bulging through the hole. A hydrocele is a fluid build-up in the scrotum. One in every ten baby boys is born with a hydrocele while a hernia affects one in 100 to one in 20 newborns at birth. They are more common in premature infants.

Varicocele: This is a painless swelling induced by scrotal vein enlargement. This affects about one in 10 young boys. It is more common on the scrotum’s left side.

Torsion of the testicular appendage: This occurs when a tiny sac on the top of the testicle twists unexpectedly. This produces pain in the testicle and scrotum. It is frequent in boys aged eight to 12. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are commonly used to treat this condition.

Torsion of the testicles: This is caused by a testicle twisting on its chord (with the potential to cut off the blood flow). The pain is intense and sudden. To save the testicle, surgery may be required within six hours. Testicular torsion affects roughly one in every 4,000 boys. It is more frequent in newborns and boys aged 12 to 18. It can occur due to a groin injury while playing or during athletics.

Orchitis and epididymitis: These infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. The symptoms include heaviness, discomfort, and swelling in the scrotum.

Entrapment by a zipper: If a portion of the scrotum, foreskin, or penis becomes entangled in a zipper, it can cause immediate pain and swelling.

Purpura Henoch-Schönlein: In young boys, this disorder can cause severe scrotal swelling. A rash, joint ache, stomach pain, and blood in the urine are common symptoms that accompany this disorder.

Other reasons: Other traumas, allergic reactions, rashes, and insect stings or bites are less prevalent causes of unpleasant swelling in the scrotal area.

When should I contact my child’s physician?

If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:

  • Scrotal swelling that causes pain
  • Pain from a testicular injury that lasts more than an hour
  • Symptoms that do not improve or worsen

How is a child’s scrotal oedema treated?

The treatment will be determined by your child’s symptoms, age, and overall health. It will also depend on the severity of the problem.

Treatment options for your child’s scrotal oedema may include:

  • Surgery: When it comes to testicular torsion, your child will almost always require emergency surgery to save the testicle.
  • Medicine: If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.

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