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Why Testicular Torsion is a Medical Emergency

Why Testicular Torsion is a Medical Emergency

By: Urology Care Foundation | Posted on: 10 Jul 2019

Why Testicular Torsion is a Medical Emergency

It is estimated that 4 out of 10 young men who have testicular torsion will lose the affected testicle. This usually happens because of a delay in someone knowing that they have the condition. Any pain or discomfort in the testes is a sign to get medical help right away.

Testicular torsion causes testicular pain. If you have it without getting medical care within a given time period, you could lose the testicle. Torsion must be treated quickly. Your urologist may do surgery if torsion is happening.

Testicular torsion is a medical emergency. Since all blood for the testicle comes through the spermatic cord, the blood supply is cut off with a twist. The testicle will shrink ("atrophy") if the blood supply isn't restored within 6 hours.

With no blood, the testicle could die (or "infarct"). When the testes die, the scrotum will be very tender, red, and swollen. Often the patient won't be able to get comfortable.

Testicular torsion is often found with a physical exam by a doctor. X-ray tests may also be used. Ultrasound and other techniques can check blood flow to the testes. If a urine test shows a urinary tract infection, your health care provider will do more tests. He or she will want to know if the pain is from an infection of the testicle or epididymis. (The epididymis is a coiled tube on the back of the testes.)

Many hospitals have plans in place to minimize the possible loss of testicles when a patient has torsion. We've learned from patients that seek care for torsion in its late stages that they've never heard of it before. Too many patients are not aware that testicular pain may be caused by torsion, and that prompt aid is needed to save the testicle.

Many young men feel insecure or ashamed when they get testicular pain. If they're unaware of how dire this condition is, they will try to "wait it out." This decision could lead to the loss of the testicle.

Spreading awareness of testicular torsion should take place during medical office visits with adolescent males, at schools, sports teams and social media. These efforts to increase awareness of the condition could raise the chances to save testicles.

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