Most parents know that certain symptoms can be associated with serious
conditions in their children. The most common ones are as follows:
- Stiff neck may mean meningitis
- Abdominal pain may mean appendicitis
- Bad cough may mean pneumonia
Testicular torsion is an uncommon condition that most parents have never heard
of; however, as with the problems noted above, it is important to get urgent
medical attention for the condition. Although testicular torsion can occur at
any age, it is most common in 12- to 18-year-olds.
In order to prevent the testicles from twisting, they are anchored it to the
side of the scrotum. Sometimes, this attachment is in the wrong place, which
allows the testicle to twist 360 degrees. If this happens, the artery that
supplies blood to the testicle will twist as well thereby cutting off its blood
supply. Shortly after this occurs, a child will experience pain and swelling
because the testicle is being deprived of oxygen. Although this is not a
life-threatening condition, the testicle itself may die if the problem is not
diagnosed and treated within six to eight hours.
Although doctors know about the importance of diagnosing and treating testicular
torsion as soon as possible, most parents do not. Also, since adolescents may be
reluctant to discuss genital symptoms with their parents, further delays can
occur before a diagnosis is made. You can remedy this situation by asking your
doctor to discuss the problem at your child’s next checkup. If a teenager knows
that testicular pain is an emergency, he will hopefully be more proactive
reporting the problem to his parents.