What a Kick in the Balls: Preventing Testicular Injuries
Even if it doesn’t impact your sexual health, when something hits you in the testicles, it really, really hurts. You’re more likely to experience testicular injuries if you play sports, like to lift weights and exercise a lot, or lead an all-around active life, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing those things – you just need to understand the dangers of testicular injuries, and how to prevent them.
The good news is that because the testicles are loosely attached to the body and are made of a spongy material, they’re able to absorb most collisions without permanent damage. Even though it hurts like hell when they’re hit, your testicles can bounce back pretty quickly and minor injuries rarely have long-term effects. And, in case you were wondering, it’s likely that your sexual function or sperm production will not be affected if you have a testicular injury. If you do get hit in the balls, take pain-relieving medications, lie down, wear supportive underwear to give your testicles gentle support, and apply ice packs to the area.
If your testicular pain doesn’t subside, or the extreme pain last longer than an hour, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms of a more serious injury include swelling or bruising on your scrotum, a puncture on your scrotum or testicle, nausea, vomiting and a fever. These could be signs of testicular torsion and testicular rupture, which need to be addressed by a doctor immediately to prevent further complications, such as reduced sperm production or the loss of the testicle. The problem may be fixed by a doctor manually untwisting the testicle but, if that doesn’t work, surgery will be necessary. However, prevention is better than treatment so, if you play sports, exercise a lot or just have an active life, you need to guard your wellbeing against testicular injuries:
1. Use protection: When participating in strenuous activities, such as sports, it’s a good idea to wear an athletic cup. You wear these hard, plastic cups over your groin to provide a good degree of shielding and safety for your testicles. This is particularly advisable if you often do sports in which your testicles might get hit or kicked, like football, hockey, soccer, or karate. When exercising, cycling or doing any heavy lifting, it’s recommended that you wear an athletic supporter. Also known as a jock strap, an athletic supporter is a cloth pouch that keeps your testicles close to your body. If you do use an athletic cup and/or jock strap, check the fit to make sure it is the right size. If the safety equipment is too small or too big, it won’t protect you as effectively. Remember to make your protective equipment part of your routine, so you don’t forget to wear it!
2. Talk to your doctor: You probably already have regular physical exams by your doctor if you play sports, but if not, it’s a good idea to do so. Even if you only experience testicular pain on occasion, you should talk to your doctor about it.
3. Understand the risks: Being aware of the risks of your sport or activity can go a long way in protecting your wellness against testicular injuries – and reading articles like this one is a great place to start! However, if you play a sport or participate in an activity with a high risk of injury, get as much information as you can by looking online, and talking to your coach or doctor about any additional protective gear you should use.