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Quick Facts

Testicular Torsion


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jan 2020| Content last modified Jan 2020
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The testicles are the oval-shaped pair of organs that sit in the sac below a man's penis. The testicles make sperm. Sperm are stored in the epididymis, which is a coiled tube on top of each testicle. The epididymis is connected to the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord carries sperm from the epididymis into the body and contains many blood vessels and nerves.

What is testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion is when the spermatic cord above your testicle twists, cutting off blood flow to your testicle.

  • Testicular torsion can happen at any age, but it most often happens to boys ages 12 to 18 or babies

  • Without blood supply, the tissue of your testicle can die in a few hours

See a doctor right away if you think you have testicular torsion. It's a medical emergency.

Male Reproductive Organs

Male Reproductive Organs

What Is Testicular Torsion?

What Is Testicular Torsion?

What causes testicular torsion?

Doctors don't always know what causes testicular torsion. Some men have an inherited condition in which the spermatic cord grows abnormally. It may also happen after a groin injury, during sleep, or being out in cold weather.

What are the symptoms of testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion causes:

  • Severe pain in one testicle and sometimes in the belly area

  • Sudden swelling of the testicle

  • Feeling sick and throwing up

  • Fever

  • Needing to urinate often

How can doctors tell if I have testicular torsion?

Doctors suspect testicular torsion based on your symptoms and physical examination. To confirm the diagnosis, they'll do:

  • An ultrasound to look for cut-off blood flow

How do doctors treat testicular torsion?

Doctors may try to untwist the testicle by turning it by hand. If this works, your doctor will do surgery later to keep the testicle from twisting again. If it doesn’t work, your doctor will do surgery right away to untwist the testicle. During surgery, your doctor will sew both testicles so that they can't twist again.

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