A spermatocele (epididymal
cyst) is a sperm-filled cyst in the long, tightly coiled tube that lies above
and behind each testicle (epididymis). It feels like a smooth,
firm lump in the scrotum on top of the testicle.
What causes spermatoceles?
Although the cause of a
spermatocele is often unknown, it may be caused by obstruction of the tubes
that carry sperm from the testicles (epididymal ducts).
For men, the health benefits of bicycling may involve a troublesome
trade-off. While riding a bicycle burns calories and improves cardiovascular
fitness, too many hours on a bicycle saddle can compress the artery and vital
nerves leading to the penis.
The result? A risk of numbness, pain, and erectile dysfunction.
A male cyclist can place a significant percentage of his weight on his
perineum, an area between the scrotum and the anus where the nerves and
arteries to the penis pass. This pressure...
Often a spermatocele does
not cause symptoms. You may notice what looks or feels like an extra lump or
mass above the testicle on one side of your scrotum. Or you may notice a
general enlargement of your scrotum. Symptoms, when present, can include pain,
swelling, or redness of the scrotum or a feeling of pressure at the base of the
How is a spermatocele diagnosed?
A spermatocele is
usually diagnosed by examining the scrotum. As part of the exam, your doctor
will shine a light behind each testicle (transillumination) to check for solid
masses that may be caused by other problems, such as cancer of the testicle.
Spermatoceles are filled with fluid, so light will shine through them
(transillumination). Light will not pass through solid masses that may be
caused by other problems, such as cancer of the testicle. An
ultrasound may be used to confirm the diagnosis of a
How is it treated?
Spermatoceles are not usually
dangerous and are treated only when they cause pain or embarrassment or when
they decrease the blood supply to the penis (rare). Treatment is not usually
needed if a spermatocele does not change in size or gets smaller as the body
reabsorbs the fluid.
If the spermatocele gets larger or causes
discomfort, a procedure to remove the spermatocele (spermatocelectomy) may be
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 04, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this