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Cysts in the Scrotum: Causes and Treatment Options

written by: Valerie Tandoi • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/26/2011

Have you recently felt odd lumps in your scrotum? Cysts in the scrotum could be completely harmless or the sign of something serious. It is best to set up a consultation with your urologist.

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    Become Familiar with Your Genitals

    Women are usually told over and over again to check their breasts and vaginal area frequently for abnormalities. Although men tend to talk about sexual health less, it is very important for you to become familiar with your reproductive anatomy as well. Even if you are not sexually active, it can be vital to do routine checks of your genital area. Be sure that when you are done self-examining your penis, that you also remember to check your scrotum, the baggy skin area below the penis.

    Although the scrotum is talked about a lot less than the penis, the scrotum is actually an imperative part of your reproductive system. Your sex hormones and sperm could be in jeopardy if your scrotum is not healthy.

    During a self-examination, if you find cysts in the scrotum it is important to make a doctor's appointment.

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    Cysts

    Call your doctor if you find a cyst. If you find a hard, ball or lump in your scrotum, it is most likely a cyst. Although it may shock you to come across this bump, cysts in the scrotum are more common that you may think.

    Cysts occur when tissue pockets fill up with fluid. One of the most common types of cysts to be found in the scrotum is called a spermatocele. This type of cyst forms when dead sperm builds up and hardens. As gross as this may sound, this type of cyst is not cancerous and is usually nothing to worry about.

    A hydrocele is another type of scrotal mass which is usually harmless. If your scrotum has been injured or infected, fluid can get backed up forming this type of cyst. A third type of common cyst in the scrotum is a hematocele. If you have recently suffered a sports injury to the groin, this cyst may be a result. A hematocele forms from blood being trapped in-between layers of tissue.

    You may be wondering why it is so important to rush to the doctor's office if most of these cysts sound so harmless. The problem with cysts is, even though you may be able to feel the lump yourself, you won't know what is going on in your insides until the doctor runs some tests. In some cases, what may feel like a cyst to you, could be the beginning of a cancerous tumor growing. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. Catching a condition early could save your life.

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    Treatment

    As long as your cyst is not cancerous, your doctor may choose to leave it there and just let it be. As long as the cyst is small and not causing you any pain, there is really nothing wrong with the lump staying put.

    If the cyst is non-cancerous, but has become infected, you will need to take antibiotics to clear up the infection.

    Even if a cyst is not harmful, but is is causing you pain, you can ask your doctor for relief. He may choose to drain the cyst or do minor surgery to remove it.

    The only time a serious procedure will need to be done is if there is a cancerous lump found in your scrotum. In this case, you may have to go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The doctor may also choose to remove the mass.

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    Resources

    Mayo Clinic: Scrotal Masses - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/scrotal-masses/DS00410

    WebMD: Skin Cysts, Lumps and Bumps - http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/cysts-lumps-bumps

    Image Credit:

    Free Digital Photos/photostock