Testicular Hernia: Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Testicular hernias are usually caused by straining, heavy lifting, or injury to the muscular tissue, and occur in men of all ages. Read this lesson to learn about the symptoms of testicular hernias and possible treatment options.

Pain in the Testes

Henry is a 45-year-old warehouse worker, doing mandatory overtime shifts to prepare for the increase in demand around the holidays. He enjoys his job as he can afford a healthy lifestyle for his family while keeping physically active at work on a regular basis. Normally, his job consists of walking and packing small orders; however, today he is reassigned, filling in for a colleague who is out sick.

Henry's new assignment is to lift small appliances onto a conveyor belt for shipping. He returns to his station after lunch and prepares to ship the next order. Despite his attention to proper body mechanics, Henry feels a pulling just below his groin when he moves to lift the large box.

What is a Testicular Hernia?

Henry decides to take a break and visit the occupational health practitioner at his job to investigate the pain. He lies on the bed and describes his pain as a pulling and burning in his scrotum, or the sack of skin holding the testes.

As Henry describes his symptoms, the practitioner suspects a hernia. Frequently caused by organs or soft tissue pushing through a weak spot in the muscular wall, hernias are caused by:

  • Straining during coughing or sneezing
  • Activities like pushing, pulling
  • Heavy lifting
  • Trauma or injury to the lower abdomen and scrotal area

During a physical assessment, the practitioner inspects the site of Henry's pain and notes some swelling on the right side of his scrotum. Henry is diagnosed with a testicular hernia, or a soft protrusion in the scrotum. Testicular hernias are also called inguinal hernias.

A testicular, or inginual, hernia
An illustration of an intestine protruding through muscle into the scrotum

Symptoms of a Testicular Hernia

Testicular hernias may develop due to unnatural stretching or pulling of the testes. The practitioner explains that Henry likely caused the testicular hernia as he moved to pick up the heavy appliance box. The physical assessment and Henry's symptoms confirm his diagnosis of a testicular hernia. His symptoms include:

  • A protrusion, or swelling, in the scrotum
  • A soft lump that may disappear when laying down and reappear with activity
  • Pain in one or both testes

Receiving Treatment

Henry experiences pain with activity and is referred to another doctor for surgical repair. He learns that receiving treatment for hernias is important, so that he may avoid future potential complications like strangulation, which could happen if the intestines get stuck in the hernia and can't receive blood supply.

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