Oh, my achin' balls
August 2, 2008 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Potential cause for testicle pain and diarrhea?

For the past seven days, my husband has had pain the testicles and groin and diarrhea. He's also noted he sweats easily. He's not running a temperature and does not have swollen lymph nodes. He's 35 years old, otherwise in good health, does not smoke, social drinker.

A visit to his PCP was fruitless. So was a trip to the urologist. Physical exams are negative; so was a urinalysis. The urologist is doing blood work to look for high white blood cell count, etc. We will know more on Monday when the labs come back.

The pain is so bad it has to be controlled with hydrocodone. Ibuprofen won't touch it.

No one has any idea of what this could be. There's no urinary tract infection, prostate is fine, testicles are not swollen or a funny color. The next step will be either ultrasound or CT scan to reveal if there is a kidney stone or a physical abnormaility causing this pain. Another possibility is that the pain is being referred from elsewhere in the body.

What do you think this could be? I know you are not my husband's doctor. He is under a doctor's care for this (for the pain, at least). I'd like to hear what others think...
posted by FergieBelle to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Not a medical professional, and his age may make it unlikely, but testicular torsion possibly?
posted by arruns at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

If I had to guess, knowing people who've gone through similar things, I'd say epididymitis (a.k.a. an inflammation of the epididymis). If they suspected testicular torsion they [most likely] wouldn't have sent him home, as that can cause a lot of damage in a very short time.

Out of curiosity, has he taken any decongesting/antihistamine nasal sprays lately? Some of those (like Astelin) can in some men have the unexpected effect of constricting the epididymis, thus leading to bacterial infection as fluids and bacteria get trapped in that tiny little tube. The infection's hard to track down, a lot of times, and hard to treat—if it is that, he may need to take a month-long course of antibiotics to knock it out.

Anyway, that's just one possibility to investigate. I hope they get you some answers soon. Post back here when you know more?
posted by limeonaire at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2008

I came in to say testicular torsion, as well.

A very small percentage of men have one or both testicles which abnormaally adhere to the scrotum, so that they can easily turn 360 degrees or more inside the scrotum.

However, when this happens, the blood vessels to the testicle get all twisted up too, and blood flow is interfered with or cut off altogether. This happened to a friend of mine who now has only one functioning testicle.

If this is what has happened to your husband, it's actually a good sign he continues to feel pain after a week, because that probably means enough blood is getting through to keep the testicles alive. My friend had unbearable agony all night, and relief in the morning, but when he went to the doctor, the testicle that had been so painful was dead, and had to be replaced by a prosthetic.

I'd be even more concerned if the pain were only in one testicle, but I still think the symptoms you're reporting could make your husband a good candidate for emergency surgery to see what's happening in there, and that you probably ought go to the best emergency room in the area and insist upon exploratory surgery as soon as possible.
posted by jamjam at 4:05 PM on August 2, 2008

Worst case- Bladder cancer. But I'm more a glass half full kinda guy.
posted by Gungho at 6:48 PM on August 2, 2008

The pain sounds similar to referred pain I had from a kidney stone.
posted by hworth at 6:55 PM on August 2, 2008

Response by poster: Update:

Took husband to the ER today after the hydrocodone stopped working.

They did a CT scan which revealed colitis probably caused by C. diff. UGH. This is a nasty bug.

So now he's on Flagyl. A stool sample will reveal whether C. diff. is the culprit or not. We should know in a couple of days.
posted by FergieBelle at 2:54 PM on August 3, 2008

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