Discussing briefly the essential parts that make up the male sex organs, there are primarily the testes (the pair of reproductive glands) which are suspended in an external protective pouch called the scrotum. Inside each testis are hundreds of tubules which produce the male reproductive cells called sperms. A thick-walled tube located on the side of each testis, called the vas deferens, nourishes and stores the sperms. The sperms, in turn, are mixed with secretions of the seminal vesicles and accessory glands, such as the prostate and bulbourethral (or Cowper’s) glands, to form the viscid, whitish fluid called semen.
Any changes which may occur in any of the parts of the male sex organs, as in an enlargement of the structures within the scrotum, merit immediate examination by a physician. The enlargement, for example, may be due to masses in the scrotum, the cause of which may actually pose a threat to one’s life. Early treatment of the condition, which is responsible for the formation of masses in the scrotum, is, therefore, absolutely needed.
Some of the causative conditions related to the development of masses in the scrotum – all of which require proper treatment – include testicular tumors, hydrocele, orchitis, spermatocele, and epididymitis.
Tumors of the testes (testicular tumors) are recognized only by the enlargement in the scrotum they cause. This is because testicular tumors usually do not cause pain. However, some of the testicular tumors may be very malignant; therefore, if suspected to be the cause of the development of masses in the scrotum, testicular tumors should be promptly attended to and treated by a physician.
A condition characterized by the accumulation of clear, light-yellow fluid in the membranous sac around a testis, called hydrocele, is clearly a cause for the occurrence of masses in the scrotum. Often, hydrocele is caused by mild irritation in the lining of the scrotum. The masses in the scrotum caused by hydrocele vary greatly in size; the tendency is to a gradual increase in size. To distinguish hydrocele from testicular tumors, the physician places a light behind the suspected hydrocele sac; light is then seen to pass through the clear fluid. Removal of the fluid by the physician is necessary if the hydrocele sac is large enough to cause discomfort.
Another condition which may cause the development of masses in the scrotum is orchitis. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of one or both testes, which may be caused by injuries or tuberculous infection. In other cases, orchitis may occur as a complication of other diseases, especially mumps. When both testes are involved in orchitis, the affected individual may be rendered sterile. Damage to the testicle cells, or scarring of the tubes through which the spermatozoa are discharged, makes sterility possible. Occurrence of orchitis requires the immediate attention of a physician.
In spermatocele, a cyst forms among the tubules that carry the sperm cells away from the testes. Such condition is likely to cause the development of masses in the scrotum. If this condition develops, consult a physician immediately.
The development of masses in the scrotum may also be due to another condition called epididymitis. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the small, soft-textured organ in the scrotum next to the testis, called epididymis. This condition may follow local infections of the prostate or urethra. In acute epididymitis, there are pain, swelling, tenderness, and fever – all of which are made worse by physical activity. It is important to have a physician determine the cause of the condition and have it properly treated.
1. “Scrotal masses – Causes”, on MayoClinic.com – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/scrotal-masses/DS00410/DSECTION=causes
2. “Scrotal masses”, on Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia (online) – https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001283.htm
3. “The Sex Organs – The Male Sex Organs”, Archive for Sexology – http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ECE1/male_sex_organs.html