Enlarged Testicles

Enlarged testicles can be a cause for concern. Testicles reach their mature size during puberty and then stop growing. Getting huge testicles all of a sudden is therefore always a sign that something is not as it should be.

You should always see a doctor if you are experiencing enlarged or swollen testicles. But first…

What Is The Average Testicle Size

Testicles actually vary less in size than penises. Big testicles do not mean big penis, nor are large testicles desirable in any way.

The average testicles are around 2 inches in length (4.5 – 5 cm) and 1 inch in diameter (2 – 2.5 cm).

Both testicles should be similar in shape and size but it is common that one testicle is slightly bigger. It is also common for one testicle to hang slightly lower than the other, usually the left one (stops them knocking into each other when men move).

Possible Causes For Enlarged Testicles

These are the most common causes for swollen testicles but there can be various other reasons for large testicles. You should always see a doctor if you are experiencing swollen or enlarged testicles.

Tree statue with big testicles
Courtesy of: Wikimedia commons

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, the firm tube that lies on the back surface of each testicle and stores and transports the sperm produced in the testicles.

Swollen testicles and pain is the most common symptoms of epididymitis, but fever and blood in semen are also known symptoms.

Epididymitis is usually caused by bacterial infection but can also be caused by sexually transmitted disease, like gonorrhea or chlamydia. It is usually treated with prescribed antibiotics, painkillers and by cooling the swollen testicles.

Orchitis

Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicle tissue. The most common cause of orchitis in adult men is bacterial infection or chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease) but mumps is the most common cause of orchitis in childhood (viral infection).

The most common symptoms of orchitis are at least one swollen testicle, pain, fever and nausea.

Treatment depends on the cause (viral or bacterial infection) but includes medication, rest and cooling the enlarged testicles.

Varicocele

Varicocele develops when the testicle veins that carry the blood back from testicles gets swollen, i.e. the blood collects in the vein instead of flowing properly (similar to varicose veins in the legs).

Varicocele is very common in young males, estimated to affect 1 in every 6 young male between 15 – 25 years of age (Teenage Varicocele Association Opens in new window symbol).

Some men experience no symptoms and their testicles may look normal. Those that get symptoms may experience dull pain in the groin area and one testicle may look swollen or hang lower than the other one (90% of the time the left testicle).

Varicocele can cause low sperm production and infertility. Varicocele can disappear without any medical invention but sometime surgical repair is required.

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion is when the spermatic cords (that the testicles hang from) get twisted, cutting of the testicle's blood supply.

The symptoms include sudden and severe pain, tenderness, swelling and enlargement of the affected testicle. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is important to save the testicle.

Treatment can be either manual (rotating the testicle in the opposite direction) or surgical. If testicular torsion is treated within six hours, there is a high chance (90%) of preserving the testicle but only 10% at 24 hours (Wikipedia Opens in new window symbol).

Testicular torsion is most common in young males (13 – 17 years old) but can also occur in unborn or newborn babies. It is more common in those with history of undescended testicles.

Testicular Cancer

In the most serious cases, enlarged testicles may be a sign of testicular cancer. Cancer of the testicles is quite rare (1% of all cancers that occur in men) and is usually benign (does not spread). It is more common in younger men (15 – 44 years of age).

The most common symptoms of testicular cancer include swollen testicles, painless lump in the testes, dull ache and feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer. Treatment includes surgical removal of the affected testicle and chemotherapy. Early diagnosis means over 95% can expect full recovery.

When To See A Doctor About Large Testicles

These are just some of the possible causes for enlarged testicles. You should always see a doctor if your testicles suddenly become enlarged or swollen.

It is also important to know how to examine your testicles and do so on regular basis. It is also important to protect your testicles from injury as best you can, e.g. if playing contact sports.