Testicular torsion: Take me out to the ball game
For men, there are few things more painful than copping a firm hit to the testicles. Unless one of your testicles decides to have a look around and actually twist inside your scrotum. Wincing yet? This is called a ‘testicular torsion’ and, as Rick explains, it can happen to any man at any time. So it might be a good idea to read on and be prepared, just in case.
A whole new ball game
As you know, testicles hang out together and seem fairly inseparable, like Starsky and Hutch. But when Starsky goes rogue, it really is a whole new ball game.
Rick learnt this the hard way at 5 o’clock in the morning.
“I woke up in extreme agony, with pain in my crotch and my stomach,” Rick says.
“So I got out of bed, thinking I’ve hit my groin during my sleep, but the pain was throbbing and getting worse.
“In the space of half an hour it went from bad to unbearable. Because the pain was in my stomach as well, it was making me feel sick and so I started throwing up.”
“I told my wife and she took me straight to the emergency department. The nurse first checked me out and then they gave me a bed straight away.”
Is that a watermelon in your pants or…
Rick says as soon as the attending doctor felt his testicles, he knew Rick was experiencing a testicular torsion.
In testicular torsion, the testicle twists because the spermatic cord twists. This cord is actually supplying your testicles with blood and oxygen but because it is twisted, the supply is cut off. If not fixed soon enough, it is possible to lose the testicle – sometimes in a matter of several hours.
Luckily, Rick only waited one hour to go to the emergency department, but he advises men to seek help straight away if experiencing any mysterious pain, because sometimes it can be too late.
When he was admitted, Rick says his right testicle was incredibly swollen and unusually round.
“So the doctor tried to manually turn it back around but he couldn’t because the swelling and pain was too much. I hadn’t even had painkillers at this point and the pain was excruciating.”
“So I had an IV put in and then I was given morphine. In total, I was given about 20 mg of morphine and the pain didn’t subside at all. So they rushed me to surgery and knocked me out cold with general anaesthetic.”
Surgery south of the border
Thankfully, under sedation the surgeon was able to turn ‘Starsky’ back around where he should be. However, Rick says he was told that once you have experienced a testicular torsion, it’s more likely to happen again.
“So the surgeon decided to cut them open and stitch them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The chances are about 0.001%,” Rick says.
“Even for men who receive a testicular torsion that can be turned around without surgery, they can still go in to have the stitches electively so that it doesn’t happen again.
“It can happen to any man at any time, for no reason. It’s just one of those things.”
Rick says, at 24 years of age, it was the most painful thing he has ever experienced and he’s just happy it didn’t happen when he was flying back from LA on a 15-hour flight the day before.
The ball is in your court
After surgery, Rick hung out at hospital for a few hours to make sure he was on the mend. He says that because his was only a day surgery, he was out by 5 o’clock that afternoon.
“They put six disposable stitches in that disappeared in two weeks. My testicles were just all black from bruising and it was very sore. My wife told everyone I was walking like I had a pole up my butt.
“It was uncomfortable to walk and there was a little stomach pain in the first few days.”
My two best friends
Brian from the infamous film Anchorman named his right testicle Dr Kenneth Noisewater, and though you don’t need to give your testicle a fancy title, you do need to pay attention to them.
This includes getting prostate checks or following up on any concerns you may have south of the border, especially if you’re experiencing pain or any unusual ‘happenings’. As Rick says, “Don’t wait until it’s too late.”