What Happens to Your Testicles After Ejaculation?

2 brown egg on white surface

Many men worry about “blue balls” which are actually an accumulation of fluid in the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. The fluid is harmless sterile salt water.

During sexual arousal, the testicles produce millions of sperm that are mixed with whitish fluids from the seminal vesicles and prostate to create semen which then travels through the urethra out the penis during orgasm.

Testicular torsion

Men who experience pain in their testicles should be sure to seek medical attention right away. Some reasons for scrotal pain are not normal and could be a sign of cancer, hydroceles or a hernia.

A hernia can be spotted by feeling for a lump in the groin. A hernia can be painful to touch and can also cause pain in the scrotum and testicles. In some cases, a hernia can be relieved by pushing back the tissue through the opening in the groin.

Infection or inflammation of the duct which carries sperm from the testes to the penis is called epididymitis. This may be painful to touch and can have a blue tinge. Sometimes, epididymitis can be relieved by ejaculating or using the Valsalva maneuver (pinch your nose and blow hard to release air).

A testicular torsion is when the tissues around the testicle twist. This cuts off the blood flow to the testicle. Torsion can be very painful and needs immediate medical attention. It generally happens on one testicle and is not very common. Newborns can get a type of torsion called intermittent torsion which is not as serious as the full-blown torsion in older people. Infants with this type of torsion have a hard, scrotal mass and often have darkening of the skin. It’s best to perform testicular self-examination to become familiar with the shape and feel of your testicles so you can spot problems right away.

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Hydroceles

In some cases, fluid collects in the thin sac that surrounds a testicle. This is called hydrocele (HI-droe-seel). Hydroceles are common in newborns, and they often go away on their own by age 1. But in older children and adults, it can be a problem that needs treatment. It can be painful, but it’s usually not harmful. A doctor can diagnose it by looking at the scrotum and asking questions about health problems.

Hydroceles are sometimes painless, but they can make the scrotum feel heavy or full. They can also cause a lump or bump on the groin or penis. Generally, these aren’t dangerous, and the pain should go away when you have an orgasm or stop feeling aroused.

There are two kinds of hydroceles — communicating and noncommunicating. In a communicating hydrocele, the fluid that fills the scrotum can pass in and out of the testicles and the inguinal canal. In a noncommunicating hydrocele, the fluid is trapped in the sac and doesn’t change in size or grow very slowly. The most common complication of untreated hydrocele is a hernia.

In one study, a majority of hydrocele patients’ wives reported dissatisfaction with their married lives. They felt that the condition hampered their work capacity, caused sexual dissatisfaction, and made couples unable to communicate effectively. The study highlights the need to increase access to surgery for hydroceles, which is known as hydrocelectomy.

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Epididymitis

The coiled tube at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm is called the epididymis. If it becomes infected or inflamed, the condition is called epididymitis (say: ep-ih-did-uh-MY-tis). It’s very common and occurs at any age but usually between 20 and 39. Most cases of epididymitis are caused by bacterial infections, often by sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. These bacteria get to the epididymis by traveling backwards through the urethra, prostate gland and vas deferens (the tubes that carry urine from the body).

A symptom of epididymitis is pain in the scrotum and penile discharge or blood in the urine. Other symptoms include swollen, tender, red or yellow testicles that are painful to touch. This infection is usually accompanied by a fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, a rash and a feeling of being unwell.

The treatment for this condition is antibiotics and measures to relieve discomfort. It’s important that men with this problem tell their sexual partners and abstain from sex until the infection clears up. If the infection is due to an STI, the man will need to take all his antibiotics for the entire course of treatment and also be tested for chlamydia or genital herpes. If these conditions aren’t treated, they can lead to long-lasting or recurring problems in the scrotum and the vulva.

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Blue balls

There’s a bit of mythology around blue balls—the term for pain and discomfort in the genital area that happens when sexual arousal doesn’t result in orgasm. It’s not an actual medical condition, but it is common for people to experience it. Essentially, the genitals get full of blood, and that excess pressure takes time to drain. This causes the painful ache people describe as blue balls, and it can last for a few minutes or a couple of hours.

While the pain isn’t a danger, it can be uncomfortable, especially since it doesn’t seem to have an official cure in the scientific literature. Luckily, there are several ways to relieve the discomfort. One way is to exercise, which can help redirect the flow of blood away from the genitals and toward muscles elsewhere in the body. Another way is to distract yourself with a hobby, like playing a video game or reading a book.

Finally, you can also try masturbating to help drain the blood from the genitals and alleviate the discomfort. Just make sure to use lube, since not doing so can cause the discomfort to be even worse. However, if the discomfort persists, see a healthcare provider to rule out a potential medical issue. That could include a tumor or other conditions that can cause pain and swelling in the groin and scrotum.

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