Testicular Trauma: Cause for Male Infertility?

By (embryologist), (gynecologist) and (invitra staff).
Last Update: 02/04/2021

A kick in the testicles, be it accidental or on purpose, is one of the most painful experiences for a man.

However, from the point of view of the potential impact of reproductive function, there is little risk that sperm production and quality will be seriously affected. Having said that, it is possible that more serious consequences may appear in the male after suffering testicular injury, such as testicular torsion, testicular rupture, epididymitis, etc.

Testicular damage can occur especially in children or pre-pubescent boys who have not yet started sperm production in the testicles. Still, the percentage of male infertility caused by this is very low and therefore unlikely in the population.

What causes male infertility?

About 30% of fertility problems in a couple are due to problems in the man, either because of a low number of sperm or because of poor sperm motility among other reasons.

Specifically, male sterility of testicular origin includes all those factors that directly affect the testicles and, therefore, prevents the man from becoming a father. However, testicular causes are not the only reason for male fertility problems.

Considering seeing a fertility specialist? Don't forget that, in the field of Reproductive Medicine, as in any other medical area, it is crucial that patients rely on the doctors and staff that will help them through their treatment cycle. Logically, conditions vary from clinic to clinic. For this reason, we recommend that you generate your Fertility Report now. It will offer you a list of clinics that have passed our rigorous selection process successfully. Furthermore, the system will make a comparison between the fees and conditions of each clinic so that you can make a better-informed decision.

The main factors that produce infertility in men are discussed below:

  • Hormonal imbalances: problems with the hormone regulation system, which are responsible for about 10% of male infertility cases. This refers to pre testicular male sterility factors.
  • Failure of the testicle itself to produce sperm: this is the most common, accounting for 55% of male infertility problems (hereditary diseases, varicocele, viral or bacterial infections, trauma affecting the vas deferens, exposure to excessive heat and radiation).
  • Ejaculation problems: These make up about 10% of male infertility problems.

Especially, a kick or trauma to the testicles would be a testicular factor that could have a negative effect on a man's fertility, although this is not common.

Causes of testicular trauma

The testicles are surrounded by a fibrous lining that provides strength and protection. However, there are situations in which testicular trauma can cause injury to the testicles and cause problems in conceiving in the male. Some of these situations are listed below:

  • Performing somewhat risky sports such as skiing or martial arts.
  • Accidents.
  • Profound wounds in the testicles.
  • Heavy blows against the testicles.

In any case, it is best to consult a urologist after a hit in the testicles. It should be noted that the intense pain after suffering a testicular trauma is not proportional to the severity of the damage caused to the testicles. Therefore, men shouldn't be concerned immediately.

Consequences of a testicular trauma

As we have already mentioned, testicular trauma does not usually generate problems in the male beyond severe pain and inflammation (orchitis). However, if the testicular shock is of great intensity, it can lead to rupture or injury.

On rare occasions, the blow is of such great force as to cause serious consequences such as those discussed below:

Testicular rupture
in these cases, the pain is usually accompanied by high swelling of the area, vomiting and fainting.
Testicular torsion
the testicle ascends and rotates. Therefore, one testicle is higher than the other.
Displacement of the testicle
this is quite common after a motorcycle accident and often results in loss of sensation in the testicle.
Epidymitis
inflammation of the epididymis.

Usually, the main concern of a man who has suffered a blow to the testicles is his fertility and whether he will be able to have children. However, sterility in the male after testicular trauma is the least common consequence.

Cure

The first thing a man should do after suffering a hit in his testicles is to evaluate his own pain. To do this, it is recommended that the testicles be palpated.

Most testicular injuries are painful at the initial moment of the trauma, but they usually go away soon after. If these discomforts do not disappear after about an hour, it is best to visit a specialist. In addition, it is also advisable to see a urologist if there is swelling in the scrotum, bruising, and injuries in the testicles.

Here are some tips for minimizing testicular pain:

  • Apply ice to the testicular region to reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid intense physical activity such as running or jumping.
  • Wear tighter underwear.

Although the loss of fertility in the male due to a kick in the testicles is not common, it is important to know that there are many reproductive options for an infertile male nowadays. Information and counseling are crucial for a comprehensive evaluation of male infertility.

Starting a fertility treatment can be complicated for the couple, so it is important that there be good communication between the couple and that they share their feelings that will arise throughout the cycle.

FAQs from users

Can testicular trauma be the cause for oligozoospermia?

By Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura (gynecologist).

Oligozoospermia is the low concentration of spermatozoa in the ejaculate. The causes of sperm production failure can be hormonal, testicular alterations or ejaculation problems. Among the alterations in the testicles, we find testicular trauma, which is related to male sterility.

A strong impact on the genitals can indeed cause sterility, but it is rare that the traumatism coincides in both testicles at the same time. If one of the two testicles continues to function, oligozoospermia should not necessarily occur, and if it does occur, it should not be severe.

In case of problems in obtaining a pregnancy, we may recommend assisted reproductive techniques by sperm microinjection (ICSI) and in severe cases a testicular biopsy may be necessary.

Can the hydrocele be derived from a blow in the testicles?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez (embryologist).

Yes, testicular hydrocele refers to fluid retention in the testicular area. This causes the scrotum to increase in size. One of the reasons why a hydrocele can appear in the male is after suffering a blow to the scrotal area.

Specifically, studies indicate that 50% of cases of testicular hydrocele are derived from trauma in the male intimate area.

Why does my stomach hurt after a kick in the testicles?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez (embryologist).

This is due to the nerve structure in the male organism. Initially, the testicles are formed in the abdomen and descend to their final lower position. For this reason, most of the nerve endings go to the abdomen.

However, the sensation and tolerance to pain may be different in each male. The brain will send the pain signal and it will travel along the nerves. Therefore, the pain will be felt throughout the body, but especially in the abdomen.

Suggested for you

Retrograde ejaculation is a problem of post-testicular factor male infertility, but it is not the only one. For more information on this subject, we recommend you visit the following article: Testicular Disorders & Infertility - Impact on Reproductive Function.

On the other hand, testicular trauma can cause alterations in the quality of the semen, which would lead to problems in achieving a pregnancy. One of them can be oligozoospermia. Learn more about it here: What is oligospermia - Causes, types and treatments.

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

References

Okonkwo K, G Wong K, T Cho C, Gilmer L. Testicular trauma resulting in shock and systemic inflammatory response syndrome: a case report. Cases J. 2008 May 12;1(1):4. doi: 10.1186/1757-1626-1-4.

Shamsi-Gamchi N, Razi M, Behfar M. Testicular torsion and reperfusion: evidences for biochemical and molecular alterations. Cell Stress Chaperones. 2018 May;23(3):429-439. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0855-0. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

FAQs from users: 'Can testicular trauma be the cause for oligozoospermia?', 'Can the hydrocele be derived from a blow in the testicles?' and 'Why does my stomach hurt after a kick in the testicles?'.

Read more

Authors and contributors

 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
Embryologist
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
Gynecologist
Graduation in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital Costa del Sol in Marbella. Dr Rut Gómez de Segura currently works as medical director in the fertility center ProcreaTec in Madrid. More information about Dra. Rut Gómez de Segura
Licence number: 28/2908776
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
inviTRA Staff
Editor and translator for the English and German edition of inviTRA. More information about Romina Packan

Find the latest news on assisted reproduction in our channels.