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Testicular Pain In Teens Could Be Signs Of Testicular Torsion Or Winter Syndrome; Permanent Damage Possible

Updated on March 19, 2015
Testicular Torsion Is Not A Laughing Matter. It Can Render A Male Sterile - Or Worse.
Testicular Torsion Is Not A Laughing Matter. It Can Render A Male Sterile - Or Worse.

Testicular Torsion Among Teen Boys Is The Culprit

Our son’s pediatrician told us that it was a good thing that we had brought in our 11 year-old when we did.

I wasn't aware that such a thing existed. Now that I know, I take my son's complaints of pain in that region because of what can happen to boys who suffer from this aliment known as testicular torsion.

The doctor shared a story of a teen-aged male patient who was too embarrassed to tell his parents that his testicles hurt; by the time they brought him in to see the doctor, it was too late. His spermatic cord had twisted so much and for so long that blood had stopped feeding the testicle - and lost it.

Had the teen boy or his parents been aware of the three major symptoms of testicular torsion, his doctor could have addressed it sooner.

The three major symptoms are:

  • Testicular Swelling
  • Testicular Redness
  • Testicular Severe Pain

The condition is known as testicular torsion and it can render a pre-teen or teenager sterile – or worse, they can lose a testicle. The spermatic cord is the cord from which the testicle is suspended in the scrotum.

Some may refer to these symptoms and condition as the Winter Syndrome - more on the Winter Syndrome below. Also this condition may occur among young males who have Bell Clapper Deformity.

Testicular torsion can occur at any age; however, 65 percent of the cases occur among boys ages 12-16. Torsion can also occur before birth and in infancy. Statistics reveal that torsion occurs in about 1 out of 25,000 males before the age of 25.

It’s a safe bet that boys in their teen years would rather endure the pain and hope that it eventually goes away than make the embarrassing claim “my testicles hurt.”

An Illustration Showing Testicular Torsion On The Right And A Normal Spermatic Cord On The Left.
An Illustration Showing Testicular Torsion On The Right And A Normal Spermatic Cord On The Left. | Source

The Painful Signs Of Testicular Torsion

The loss of a testicle occurs due to the reduction or lack of blood supply to the testicle. The spermatic cord can twist naturally or through physical activity, and cause the following symptoms. A testicle can be saved if emergency surgery is performed within hours.

According to information provided by the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms include:

  • Testicular Swelling
  • Testicular Redness
  • Testicular Severe Pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Testicular Sudden Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A testicle in an unusual angle
  • A testicle higher than usual

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Facts You Can't Ignore

  • 1 in 25,000 males will experience testicular torsion before the age of 25
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you experience sudden and severe pain
  • Do not allow embarrassment to delay reporting the symptoms
  • Males who experience testicular torsion could be rendered sterile or lose a testicle

What To Do If You Experience Sudden and Severe Testicular Pain

Males with these symptoms must contact their physician immediately, or rush to the emergency room at a hospital.

Be prepared to answer such questions as:

  • When did the pain start?
  • What were you doing when the pain started?
  • Has this pain happened before?

This last question is important. Do not be relieved that an earlier episode of pain went away. This could mean that the cord untwisted itself. Though it untwisted itself, the testicle still experienced blood loss or reduction – it will happen again.

The doctor will perform tests to confirm whether it is torsion or another aliment with symptoms similar to torsion. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a doctor may use an ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow in that region.

If it is torsion and the testicle can be saved, a small incision is made in the scrotum to untwist the cord. The testicle may then be stitched to the side of the scrotum to prevent further torsion.

The longer the teen male waits to receive medical attention, the more chances increase that the testicle will be lost. Experts have determined that a testicle can be saved 90 percent of the time if the cord has been twisted for 6 hours. The chance to save the testicle drops to 50 percent after 12 hours and only 10 percent after 24 hours.

If you are a pre-teen or teenager, do not be embarrassed to report the pain immediately. If you are a parent, discuss this with your boy immediately. If there is currently testicular pain, receive medical attention immediately.

Fortunately, the pain that our son reported was not related to testicular torsion, however, it was at this time that we discovered that such a condition existed and are prepared to rush our son to the doctor should he report pain again.

Suggest Testicular Torsion To Your Doctor As A Diagnosis
Suggest Testicular Torsion To Your Doctor As A Diagnosis

Testicular Torsion Also Known As The Winter Syndrome

Since many males report that they experience torsion during cold weather, it is often referred to as The Winter Syndrome.

If the spermatic cord is twisted while the male sleeps in a warm bed and the scrotum is relaxed, the sudden drop in temperature when he gets out of bed prompts the scrotum to contract, catching the cord in the twisted position.

This occurs more easily if the male has Bell Clapper Deformity. Bell Clapper Deformity is a syndrome in which the testicles are not attached to the scrotum and and only hang from the cord, allowing the testicles to hover and twist in the scrotum.

Corrective procedure calls for a urologist to surgical untwist the cord and attach the testicles to the scrotum to prevent another episode of Testicular Torsion or The Winter Syndrome.

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© 2014 VJG

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    • VJGSA profile image
      Author

      VJG 2 years ago from Texas

      SUNSHINE, LISA AND FPHERJ48- Thank you for your kind words. As I mentioned in fan mail to each of you. Many of our diseases can often be avoided, treated or reversed entirely - if we just know the signs AND not ignore the signs. I had never heard of testicular torsion until we took our son to a doctor. Fortunately it wasn't torsion, however, the episode did educate me, I thought it important to share the information with as many people as I could.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      VJGSA......This Hub is invaluable. This is a must read. I always appreciate health information when it is shared. As a mother of 4 adult sons and 9 grandsons, I truly appreciate this and intend to share your link. Wonderful work,.....UP+++ Paula

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 2 years ago from New Jersey

      A very interesting and scary article. I had never heard of this before. Thank you for educating our readers on this.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent and informative article that could possibly help save many lives. Your research and sharing is appreciated. During one of my husbands chemo treatments for Prostate Cancer I met a young man, 16 years old, who was being treated for aggressive Testicular Cancer...I never saw him again, but his parents told me his oncologist was very hopeful that he would be cured. Tweeting to help you spread the word!

    • VJGSA profile image
      Author

      VJG 2 years ago from Texas

      I am so sorry for your loss. I have learned from the loss of both my parents not to attribute uncommon aches and pains to "I'm just getting older." I didn't realize there was such thing as torsion until we took our son in to a doctor. Thank you for your note. There are so many diseases that can be treated and even reversed if only we're aware of the signs.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This is an excellent and informative hub. My son passed away at age 40 from testicular cancer. After his testicle was removed, he began chemo therapy. He died 3 months later. He left 4 small children that he adored and raised on his own.

      Any time pain is felt in this area, it's crucial that both young and older men head to the doctor.