Testicular Examination and Testicular Self-Examination (TSE)
How It Feels
A testicular examination by your doctor may cause mild discomfort if your testicles are painful, swollen,
or inflamed. Whenever the genital area is touched, there is a possibility your
body will react, and you may have an erection. This is a normal response that
your doctor is aware of and you do not need to feel
Usually there is no pain or discomfort associated
with a testicular self-examination (TSE) unless a testicle is swollen or
tender. A cancerous lump usually is firm to the touch and usually is not tender
or painful when pressed.
There are no risks linked with a testicular
examination or testicular self-examination (TSE). But false-positive results may lead to diagnostic tests or procedures that you don't need.
Testicular examination and testicular
self-examination (TSE) are two methods to detect lumps or
abnormalities of the
Testicular examination and testicular self-examination (TSE)
Each testicle should feel firm but not
hard, and the surface should be very smooth, without any lumps or bumps. The
spongy, tube-shaped structure (epididymis) may be felt on the top and down the
back side of each testicle. One testicle (usually the left) may hang slightly
lower than the other, and one testicle may be slightly larger than the other.
This difference is usually normal.
No pain or discomfort is experienced during
testicular examination or TSE.
A small, hard lump (often about the size of
a pea) is felt on the surface of the testicle, or the testicle is swollen or
enlarged. If you notice a lump or swelling during TSE, contact your doctor immediately. Do not delay or wait for the lump to go away, because
it may be an early sign of
testicular cancer. Immediate treatment provides the
best chance for a cure.
One or both testicles are not felt. If you
cannot feel one or both testicles while performing TSE, contact your doctor. This may mean an
A soft collection of thin tubes (often
referred to as a "bag of worms" or "spaghetti") is felt above or behind the
testicle. This may mean a
Sudden (acute) pain or swelling in the
scrotum that is noticed during the testicular examination or TSE may mean
an infection (epididymitis) or blockage of blood flow to the
testicle (testicular torsion), either of which requires immediate
A free-floating lump in the scrotum that is
not attached to a testicle may be present but is not a cause for
If you cannot feel both testicles in your baby's scrotum
(descended), talk to his doctor.