It is completely normal for one testicle to be bigger than the other. In most men, the right testicle is slightly larger and the left hangs lower.
A difference in size is usually not an issue. Though in some cases, it can indicate a problem. If your testicle changes shape and is associated with pains, you would have to consult your doctor immediately.
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Why does one testicle appear bigger?
There are several reasons why one testicle may be bigger than the other. These include:
Orchitis occurs when an infection causes inflammation in the testicle. It may occur after a person catches the mumps virus. A man who experiences testicular pain should see a doctor. Orchitis can damage the testicles if left untreated for long.
Epididymitis occurs when the duct behind the testes becomes inflamed, usually as a result of infection. This condition can be a sign of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) like chlamydia. Symptoms may include;
- discharge from the penis
- pain when passing out urine
- inflammation in the testicle
Epididymal cysts may occur when there is excess fluid in the duct. A cyst is a thin sac filled with fluid. They may also form while the epididymis is developing. These cysts are inoffensive and usually painless. No treatment is necessary, and they often resolve on their own. Epididymal cysts can be surgically removed if they cause discomfort.
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A hydrocele refers to a sac that forms around the testicles and fills it with fluid. It usually does not require treatment, but it can indicate inflammation. The male may have to see a doctor.
This is caused by enlargement of veins within the scrotum. It usually does not require treatment if there are no additional symptoms, but a varicocele can lead to low sperm count.
Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle rotates and the spermatic cord is twisted. This can cause severe pain in the testes. If this pain follows an injury, it may dwindle then return again. Testicular torsion is severe and should be treated as an emergency. The twisting of the cord can reduce or block blood flow to the testicle, and without treatment the testicle may need to be removed.
Testicular cancer is uncommon, developing in about 1 in 250 males, according to American Cancer Society. It is most prevalent in young and middle-aged men and can usually be treated successfully if detected early.
Cancerous cells can appear and multiply in the testicle. A doctor should examine lumps or new growths in the area as soon as possible.
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Several signs and symptoms can point to a problem with testicular health.
- Swelling of the testicles
- a sharp pain or ache in or around the testicles
- discharge from the penis
- trouble passing urine
- pain in the back or lower abdomen
- swelling or tenderness in the breast tissue
A doctor will help to identify the fundamental cause by examining the scrotum and testicles for lumps or any form of abnormalities. If they suspect testicular cancer, they will take a blood test.
Other tests may recommend include:
- a urine test to check for infections and kidney problems
- an ultrasoundto look for growths and check blood flow
- a CT scanto look for testicular abnormalities
If an underlying condition is diagnosed, a doctor may prescribe medication or other treatment.
Treatment for differently sized testicles depends on the cause.
Epididymitis. If chlamydia is the cause of epididymitis, a course of antibiotics to treat the infection would be prescribed by a doctor, and may recommend elevating the scrotum to reduce swelling.
Orchitis. If an STI is causing orchitis, a doctor will prescribe medications like ceftriaxone (Rocephin) or azithromycin (Zithromax), to fight the infection.
Testicular torsion. A doctor may be able to untwist the testicle, in a procedure called manual detorsion, but surgery is often necessary to prevent a reoccurrence. A delay in treatment increases the chances of permanently removing the twisted testicle.
Testicular cancer. A doctor may recommend removing the testicle where the cancer is present. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination may help to reduce or destroy cancer cells. Additional treatments and surgeries may be needed if the cancer has spread.