Testicular Torsion
a Serious Situation?


Testicular torsion is a serious medical emergency.

It is more important topic for your son’s health and well being than even the subject of how to fix a bent penis is to you.

The reason is, your son could lose one of his balls if you don’t recognize it and know what to do about it.

It’s one of those topics that is serious and not too familiar to the general public.

Testicular Torsion is most frequent in younger men, but you, as their Dad, can keep your son(s) from suffering from the possible serious consequences of it with some simple knowledge ahead of time.

What Exactly Is
testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion is what happens when a testicle (testes, ball, orchis, nut...) rotates on the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord connects the testicle to the rest of the body and provides the blood flow to it.

testicular torsion

It is also called Testicular Twisting, Testicular Ischemia, and Torsion of the testes.

When the cord rotates and twists, the blood supply is greatly diminished or even cut off completely.

This suffocates the testicle and if the cord is not untwisted within a short period of time (2-24 hours) it will be strangled to death and have to be removed.

testicular torsion
a serious medical emergency

Testicular torsion can happen to males of any age, but is most common in newborns and boys up to about 18 year old.

"It is a serious condition
that could cause the loss of the testicle
if not treated within hours of the occurrence."

talk to your son
many young boys are too embarrassed
to let you know what is happening

Unfortunately, for most young men and most boys, talking about their private parts to their parents (especially their Moms) is too embarrassing.

Pain in the genitals is usually nothing more than a brief discomfort. But when it is more painful and lasts more than a brief time it could mean testicular torsion has occurred.

Please Remember This:  It is a serious medical emergency. It usually requires immediate medical attention in order to keep the testes alive.

It is important to teach your son(s) that there is no need to keep secrets when they are experiencing pain in their genitals.

often the cause is not known

The “authorities” don’t really know why it occurs. Unfortunate, but true.

The condition can occur after strenuous exercise. Or, after a trauma to the scrotum. It can even happen while a person is sleeping. Often, however, the cause isn't known.

the most common reasons
it happens

Testicular torsion occurs most frequently in boys and men who have a genetic condition called Bell Clapper Deformity.

This is a condition where the testes are not anchored to the scrotum. It is an inherited trait. They are kind of suspended like a clapper in a bell (hence the name).

This can also happen from a trauma to the scrotum that causes the balls to detach from the scrotum.

This leaves them free to move around. When they spin and the spermatic tube gets twisted you have what is called testicular torsion.

Sometimes (rarely) they will untwist by themselves. But, unless they are anchored to the scrotum (surgically) they can and often do twist again.

testicular torsion picture

The problem happens more frequently on the right side. But, can happen on either side.

If it lasts for only 8 hours (you can judge by the amount of time pain has been present) there is a 50% chance that the testicle will be suffocated (from cut off blood flow) and die. It will then require surgical removal.

That is how urgent prompt medical attention is. This condition is NOT something you wait a day, or sleep on, to see what will happen.

"Prompt medical attention is necessary.

After 24 hours,

the chance of saving the testicle is only about 10%."

testicular torsion after 1 hour1 hour of torsion

testicular torsion after 4 hours4 hours of torsion

testicular torsion is a medical emergencyDead Testicle (on left) from torsion

"Testicular torsion should be suspected in any boy with severe pain in the testicles or scrotum.


Immediate medical attention should be sought."

There is no time to waste when this condition is suspected. Prompt medical diagnosis (a trip to the hospital emergency room) and treatment are very important.

How Can You Tell?

The condition, or possibility of it, does not require a genius to detect.

First there will be pain that lasts. Often very severe pain. That should be warning enough.

Swelling in the testicle and/or scrotum will often be present. Discoloration may also be present. One testicle may appear higher than the other.

testicular torsion in childrenvisual symptoms of testicular torsion

Symptoms may also include nausea and vomiting may occur. As well as abdominal pain.

Sudden pain in a testes that goes away without treatment may also be a symptom. This happens when it twists and then untwists by itself. Unless it is secured to the scrotum, however, the problem can recur at any time in the future.

Eventually, it may not untwist after twisting and then serious complications may follow because the patient waits too long to seek correct medical treatment.

Your son will probably have felt a sudden, and maybe severe pain in his groin and/or one of his nuts. This pain may get worse. Possibly, it may subside. But it usually won't completely go away.

Acute pain and swelling that is anything more than brief should be enough to get you and your boy rushing off to the Emergency Room at your hospital.

have a healthy talk with your son
before it happens

"Testicular torsion followed by testicle removal is all too common because: most boys do not feel comfortable talking to their parents
about pain in their genitals. This is tragic."

If you have children, healthy sexual conversation should be encouraged.

That way possible a very serious problem like this won’t be kept a secret by your boy, and, the situation can be handled before it becomes so serious that he suffers permanent sexual (and the corresponding psychological) damage.

Immediate Treatment Is Necessary

Again, I can not stress this enough, this is considered medical emergency. This means, immediate surgery is usually required to save the testicle.

Sometimes, but rarely, the testicle can be untwisted and the blood circulation restored to normal without surgery.

However, surgery will still be needed to secure both testes to the scrotum so that it does not happen again.

the necessary surgery
quite simple

Fortunately, this surgery, however, is quite simple and done on an outpatient basis.

Basically the scrotum is cut open and the twisted spermatic cord is untwisted. Then the testicles (both usually will require it) are anchored to the scrotum so they do not twist again in the future.

After the surgery the patient will need to avoid all sexual activity and strenuous activity for a few weeks. Your doctor will be able to tell him when it will be safe for him to return to his normal activities.

If testicular torsion had been in place too long, and the doctor had to remove a testicle, the young man will still normally be able to father children later in life with just one of his testes remaining.

It is also important to let him know that he will still be able to have normal sexual relations, have a normal sex life, and father children with just one testicle.

how you can avoid the risks

While the signs and symptoms of testicular torsion may be caused by some other condition or trauma, if this condition actually is present, prompt treatment can prevent severe damage or loss of the testis.

"Young men and boys have to learn that pain in their sexual parts
can be serious and should not be ignored.

And, that talking about it is nothing to be embarrassed about."

how to Avoid
Serious consequences

Ignoring sexual pain and just hoping it goes away can cause serious consequences.

So, please, talk with your sons. Let them know it is OK to talk with you if they ever have a sexual pain problem.

Reinforce in them the old saying: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Unlike a bent penis, which you can work on in your own time, testicular torsion is a medical emergency. (As is a broken penis.) If left too long testicular torsion can cause the ball to die and need to be surgically removed.

Be Well.....

~ William

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