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What Is a Testicular Cyst?

Benign growths can occur on the testicles.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
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  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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A testicular cyst is a smooth growth, often described as a lump, that develops in or on a testicle. Usually, testicular cysts are benign, which means they are not cancerous. Since it is possible that a growth in a testicle may be a sign of cancer, however, men are typically advised to see a doctor to have such growths examined and make sure they really are non-cancerous cysts.

Most testicular cysts share the same basic characteristics. They are usually smooth and filled with fluid, which is milky or clear in appearance. Often, they are small and painless, though this isn't always the case. This type of cyst can also be large, swollen, and uncomfortable.

There are many reasons a man may develop a testicular cyst. He may develop this type of growth in relation to an injury to his testicles, for example. Inflammation may even lead to the development of a testicular cyst. In some cases, this type of cyst develops because a testicular passage is blocked. Interestingly, a testicular cyst may also form because a man was exposed to a synthetic estrogen called diethylstilbestrol (DES) in his mother's womb. While testicular cysts may develop at any age, they may be more likely to develop as a man grows older.

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Doctors usually use a combination of examination and imaging technology to confirm the presence of a testicular cyst. This means a doctor may examine the affected man's testicles to find the lump. Once he's done a physical examination, the doctor may order an ultrasound, MRI, or both in order to make sure it's not solid, which may indicate a tumor rather than a cyst. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform a biopsy to rule out cancer.

Treatment for a testicular cyst often depends on the extent of its growth and the discomfort it causes. If it is a large cyst, causes swelling, or is painful, a doctor may recommend treatment. Medications may be used to relieve the patient's discomfort, and a surgeon may remove the testicular cyst surgically. Sometimes, however, doctors recommend using needle aspiration, which is a procedure in which a needle is used to remove fluid from a cyst, and then following up by injecting medications into the empty cyst sac. This may have the effect of causing the sac to scar, which may make it less likely that another cyst will form in the same place.

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Discuss this Article

anon947216
Post 18

I'm 18 and I have had a lump in my testes for five years now and I don't know what to do.

anon937693
Post 17

We woman get cysts on our ovaries with all the same symptoms that guys get in our reproductive organs too. How do you not know this?

anon331611
Post 14

I've had testicular pain in my left testicle for at least five years now, which started with a tiny bump I could feel. I went to a urologist, and he charged me $350 to tell me I needed a $600 MRI. I couldn't afford that, so he did a personal examination and said he felt swelling on the left epididymis, but didn't feel my bump.

Last year, I went to the emergency room because the pain, and the bump had increased over the years and the stress of it was freaking me out.

The did an ultrasound (I don't know why), and said they did not detect any mass there. The doctor offered me a prescription for pain killers, and a strong antibiotic I had to take for a month. I turned down the pain killers, and tried the antibiotics. They worked for awhile, but the pain and the size has increased drastically in the past six months.

I have no insurance, and no more disposable income as I have recently lost my job when laid off.

Does anyone have any suggestions? The pain and the stress are at extreme levels for me now. I can't sleep anymore even with sleep aides.

anon323231
Post 13

@TunaLine: Sorry to burst your bubble, but ladies can get ovarian cysts.

anon283700
Post 12

I'm 23 years old and I guess I have a small lump at the top of my left testicle, which, as a matter of fact, has been causing slight ache and also appears (probably psychological) smaller than the right one.

I'm kind of nervous about the whole thing because all this started just two weeks ago. I don't remember the first time when I felt the presence of the small lump, but it was years ago. What concerns me is why has it started hurting of late? It just feels weaker than the right testicle. Kindly advise if I should have surgery on it.

anon233144
Post 10

After suffering with increasing testicular pain for about six weeks, and feeling a smallish lump (size of a large pea) on my right testicle, I went to Emergency. They examined me, confirmed I didn't have a hernia and sent me for an ultrasound (same day).

A day later I saw a urologist for an exam and for the results of the ultrasound. He examined me and reviewed the ultrasound scans. He said I had epididymal cysts. He said they were nothing to worry about, that some guys just get them. Oddly, he said they didn't likely relate to the pain I was experiencing, which he said was prob caused by a strain or a blow to the testicles. He put me on anti-inflammatory meds for a a couple weeks and told me to stop weight lifting activities.

The pain got a bit better but did not resolve, so I saw the urologist again after three weeks for another physical exam and checkup. His diagnosis remained the same. The pain has never fully resolved, and today when I did a self-exam, I could feel the cyst has more than doubled in size (maybe the size of a walnut). I am not too happy about that.

Having recently lost my health insurance, I don't know if I should go back to the urologist now for another follow-up or put it off until my new insurance kicks in in two months time. Anon163033 reported similar pain and had his cysts removed in the doctor's office, so I wonder if this is where I am headed.

anon212272
Post 9

I've noticed a cyst on the top of my left testicle. It's not painful, not even when I grab it. It feels like if I have a piece of gum. Could someone please tell me what that can be?

anon198341
Post 8

I'll be 62 in September. Apparently when I was about 18 months old, I had swollen neck glands (mumps?) that I was hospitalized and treated for, I think mostly with penicillin. I don't know what else they had in 1951.

About eight years ago, I had a diagnosed cyst growing on the right testicle. After the technical process of having the blood flows checked in the testicles, I was informed that the "small" left testicle is non-functional, that I must have had the mumps as a child. That was actually news to me that I must have had the mumps as a child. This cyst engulfs about half of the right testicle and the entire "ball" is about the size of half a baseball. My surgeon advised me that he preferred not to attempt to remove this kind of cyst, because it is not painful, but the effects of the removal would most likely cause lasting pain. He said it could grow to the size of a baseball. Damn! I might have a softball down there if I make to 100!

I produced a couple of offspring who aren't even as smart as I am, and I probably should have tried to produce more, and maybe I would have gotten a smarter one, but I didn't, and the world's probably better off for it.

I recently got a testosterone test and it was below the norm (238?), but I'm not experiencing adverse symptoms, except I'm concerned about the possibility of low bone-density. I have always had a "sexually active" mind. I'm guessing that my thoughts have a lot to do with getting and keeping the juices flowing.

I'm researching natural testosterone boosters and last year, I was taking a natural weight loss supplement, which I didn't need, horny goat weed, and St. John's wort along with a bunch of health supplements, and I had (my first ever) super duper anxiety attack. "We are here, and we are many." (the whole nine yards!) I thought I was dead or an inch from it several times. I stopped those supplements, and this year my same PA said I should try dealing with this sort of laziness and depression with St. John's Wort, so here we go again. I have seen the darkness, so it won't be so scary next time.

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anon163033
Post 7

I just had three cysts removed from my scrotum today. They were all about the size of pea and did not hurt at all while present. I had them for maybe one year total and finally got fed up and went to the urologist and it was a very simple surgery. He just cut them out after complete numbing and I did not feel a thing. He sent them in to make sure there were no cancerous cells even though he was 99 percent certain there wasn't, but it's that 1 percent that sometimes surprises him.

So now I wait for a few days and can tell you that this is the hardest part of the whole experience. The waiting even though he almost positive it is nothing still plays games with your mind, but I would recommend anyone with these to go to a urologist and just get it over with.

anon161145
Post 6

My name is Mike G. I'm from the Philippines, 23 years of age. I've had this cyst for the longest time and I've yet to divulge this to anyone save my father and my psychiatrist (who has been egging me to have it checked with a urologist). Now I have the courage to tell you all of my cyst.

I've had it since I was seven years old. When I first noticed it, my father told me to ignore it, dismissing it as a "lump of overgrown fat". Fast forward sixteen years and it had swollen into the size of my pinky finger. Although swollen - with the blood vessels clearly visible - it was painless since it wasn't directly attached to the scrotum. I think it was about 5 mm away from the scrotum, more or less.

Another thing is that the cyst was prone to flaking, as I would occasionally peel the skin off without any pain or bleeding. But just last week, I peeled too deeply, causing the cyst to bleed. It bled, but not much. Three days later (last Thursday noon), I was examining the wound while in my bathroom, when I pinched the cyst too hard. It squirted some yellow-orange fluid -- probably a mix of blood, pus, and sperm. It splashed all over the tiles. It was a horrible mess.

Now my cyst - or the sac which contained it - looks deflated, like a prune. The lesion has yet to heal and it hurts me a bit whenever it comes into contact with my legs. The question is: was it cancerous or benign?

anon158442
Post 5

The indications I get are that a cyst is normally not painful. however testicular pain can be for a number of reasons. infections, which could cause a cyst which is fluid filled or more seriously a cancer of the testicle itself. but according to my urologist, normally involves the whole testicle rather than just a cyst. although any cyst should be checked out. Mine was solid on ultrasound, and is not painful unless i sit or touch it in a particular way.

I had a MRI which I am awaiting the results of but the urologist says hes not that worried. Best thing is to get any lump checked out, and don't be embarrassed. what is probably more frustrating to a specialist is when they could nip it in the bud earlier.

If you have a lump or pain, go see someone now. Don't put it off. and one final thing: testicular cancers have one of the best cure rates -- 95 percent if caught early.

anon153773
Post 4

I have just been diagnosed with a cyst that is not connected to the testicles, but i believe the doctor said its on the epididymis. Either way, its what the testes connect to. Every time i sit, move side to side, or even the temp changes a little cooler, it feels like someone has just kicked me in the left testicle. Its a tremendous amount of pain.

I heard that cysts on the testes are not usually that painful, but if they are near the nerve endings at the top of the testicle, or on the organ above the testes near the nerves connecting to the testes, it can be extremely painful. That's what i have, and it's about as fun as getting kicked in the nuts every few minutes.

pharmchick78
Post 3

@littleman -- While it's rather unlikely that you would be experiencing pain from an epididymal cyst, especially if you don't feel a lump, it is possible.

Just to let you know, some of the testicular cyst symptoms (aside from a lump), generally include pain in the testicular area, inflammation, a degree of testicular torsion (in severe cases), and a difference in testicle size (i.e., one suddenly getting bigger than the other).

The reason I'm rather hesitant to think that you have a epididymal cyst is that usually, in order for a cyst to be as painful as you describe, it will be large enough to be felt.

If your pain doesn't resolve in a week or so, and if you still don't see or feel any lump, then I would suggest you go to a doctor. They'll be able to tell you what's going on, and can also do a check for any more serious condition, just in case.

Best of luck.

LittleMan
Post 2

Could a cyst be a possible cause of testicular pain? I've been experiencing some testicular pain recently, and I'd really like to get it sorted out.

I don't feel a lump or anything, but I looked at some testicular cyst pictures on wiki, and I think I got sort of paranoid about it.

So do you think that my testicular pain could actually be testicular cyst pain? I don't think that I've got any testicular torsion going on, and there's been no trauma to the area, so I'm really kind of lost as to what's going on.

Do you have any idea, can you help me out with this? Could what I am experiencing possibly be an epididymal cyst?

TunaLine
Post 1

This makes me so, so glad that I'm not a man. Frankly, even the idea of a testicular cyst scares me, so I can't even imagine how I'd feel like if I actually had the potential to get one.

I mean, a testicular cyst has got to be just excruciatingly painful -- if "down there" is anywhere as sensitive as guys claim, then that would just be horrific, maybe even as bad as testicular torsion. I will definitely be telling my husband to start checking for these when he does his check for testicular cancer, because, aside from the obvious pain for him, that would freak me right out.

Just one more reason I'm glad I'm a woman...

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