The scrotum is a part of the male genitalia located behind the penis. It is the muscular sac that surrounds and protects the testicles. Scrotal disorders can occur in males of any age and the most common include:
Injury: Scrotal injuries may occur due to accidents, sports, or sexual activity. They are usually painful and may be associated with swelling or hematocele (accumulation of blood in the scrotum).
Hydrocele: A hydrocele is an accumulation of fluid around the testicles causing the scrotum to swell. This is caused due to non-closure of the tube through which the testicles descend into the scrotum. Non-closure of the tube leads to accumulation of fluid in the scrotum. Inflammation or injury of the testicles, or blockage within the spermatic cord by fluid or blood may also cause hydrocele. This condition usually disappears after a few months following birth. If the condition does not disappear, the child may develop a hernia, where a section of the intestines runs through the still-opened pathway.
Varicocele: Varicoceles are abnormal enlargements of the veins in the scrotum. It is commonly found in adolescent boys in puberty, and occurs mostly around the left testicle, but can occur on both sides.
Infection: Scrotal infections may be caused by bacterial and viral organisms.
Epididymitis refers to inflammation of the epididymis, the coiled tube near each testicle.
Orchitis refers to inflammation of one or both of the testicles.
Sebaceous cyst: A cystic swelling may appear over the scrotal skin.
Torsion of testicle: Twisting of one of the testicles on its spermatic cord may block the blood supply to structures in the scrotum leading to severe pain, swelling, and redness.
Testicular cancer usually presents as a painless lump in the testicle. There are different types of testicular tumors which may be treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Inguinal hernia: An inguinal hernia is a bulge that forms when a part of your small intestine or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the groin (area between the upper thigh and lower abdomen) or scrotum (muscular sac containing male testes).
The foreskin is the loose fold of skin that covers and protects the head of the penis (glans penis). Circumcision is the surgical removal of some or the entire foreskin and is performed for cultural, religious or health reasons.
The following problems can develop only in uncircumcised males.
The foreskin may be tight and difficult to retract, a condition called phimosis. The condition is normal in infants and usually resolves by the age of 3. An injury to the foreskin, infection, and poor hygiene can also lead to phimosis. In adults, circumcision is recommended if phimosis interferes with urination.
Paraphimosis, a condition where the retracted foreskin cannot be pulled back to cover the head of penis and becomes swollen and tight. This may be the result of poor hygiene, infection of the foreskin, or vigorous sexual activity. It is an emergency condition as it can strangulate the blood supply to the glans penis leading to tissue destruction. Treatment includes ice application followed by manipulation, aspiration to reduce the swelling, making an incision through the constricted area, and circumcision.