What is male genital problems and injuries?

Male Genital Problems and Injuries
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Male genital problems and injuries: Overview

Male genital problems and injuries can occur fairly easily. That's because the scrotum and penis aren't protected by bones. These problems and injuries most often occur during:

  • Sports or recreational activities, such as mountain biking, soccer, or baseball.
  • Work-related tasks, such as being exposed to irritating chemicals.
  • Falls.
  • Sex.

A genital injury often causes severe pain that usually goes away quickly without causing permanent damage. Home treatment is usually all that is needed for minor problems or injuries. Pain, swelling, bruising, or rashes that are present with other symptoms may be a cause for concern.

Male genital conditions

Testicular cancer.
This is most common from ages 15 to 35 years. It's more common in white people than in black people. Many growths in the scrotum or testicles aren't cancer (benign). But a painless lump in a testicle may be a sign of cancer.
An erection problem.
This may occur when blood vessels that supply the penis are injured. You may not be able to have an erection (erectile dysfunction). Or the erection may not go away on its own (priapism), which is a medical emergency.
Torsion of a testicle.
This occurs when a testicle twists on the spermatic cord and cuts off the blood supply to the testicle. It's a medical emergency.
Scrotal problems.
These problems may include a painless buildup of fluid around one or both testicles (hydrocele) or an enlarged vein (varicose vein) in the scrotum (varicocele). Usually these are minor problems. But they may need to be checked by your doctor.
Problems with the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis.
Conditions that make it hard to pull the foreskin back from the head of the penis (phimosis) or that prevent a tightened, retracted foreskin from returning to its normal position over the head of the penis (paraphimosis) need to be checked by your doctor.
In this common problem at birth, the urethra does not extend to the tip of the penis.
Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism).
This occurs when one or both testicles have not moved down into the scrotum.
An inguinal hernia.
A hernia occurs when a small portion of the bowel bulges out through the inguinal canal into the groin.
A kidney stone.
A stone forms from minerals in urine that crystallize and harden. Kidney stones are usually painless while they are in the kidney. But they can cause severe pain as they break loose and travel through narrow tubes to exit the body.
A skin cyst.
A cyst that is filled with a soft, yellow substance called keratin may form beneath the outer layer of the skin in the scrotum.


Infections can occur in any area of the genitals, such as:

  • A testicle (orchitis).
  • The epididymis (epididymitis).
  • The urethra (urethritis).
  • The prostate (prostatitis).
  • The bladder (cystitis).
  • A simple hair follicle or a deeper abscess in the scrotum that may involve the testicles, epididymis, or urethra.
  • The genital area. An example is genital herpes or, in rare cases, Fournier's gangrene.
  • The head of the penis. The infection may occur under the foreskin. This is called balanitis.

You may notice blood in your semen. This is most often caused by infection or inflammation.

Other problems that may occur in the groin area

Rashes in the groin area have many causes, such as ringworm or yeast (cutaneous candidiasis). Most rashes can be treated at home.

A rash may be the first symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you may have been exposed to an STI, do not have sexual contact or activity until you've been checked by your doctor. This will reduce the risk of spreading a possible infection to your sex partner. Your sex partner may also need to be checked and treated.

Children may play with toys or other objects near their penis and accidentally cause an injury. Anything wrapped around the penis or any object in the penis needs to be checked right away to avoid problems.

If you use a urinary catheter to drain your bladder, your doctor will give you instructions on when to call to report problems. Be sure to follow the instructions your doctor gave you.

How do you care for male genital problems and injuries?

Home treatment can help relieve pain, swelling, and bruising and promote healing after a genital injury. But if you think you may have a more severe injury, use first aid while you arrange to be checked by your doctor.

Home treatment for a minor injury


Rest and protect an injured or sore area.


Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to reduce swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. A bag of frozen peas or corn may work as a cold pack. Protect your skin from frostbite by placing a cloth between the ice and the skin. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, you can apply warmth to the area.


While recovering from a genital injury, wear snug underwear or compression shorts to help support the injured area. You can use an athletic supporter if it helps relieve your pain.

Other groin area problems

Rashes and injuries may also occur in the groin area.

  • Rashes, such as those that occur with yeast infections or jock itch, are often treated with creams or ointments.
  • Cuts are rinsed and cleaned. If a cut is large or painful, you may need to see a doctor.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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