The third testicle? What is the epididymis?

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  • Whenever there are medical stories on the local stations warning men to do self exams for testicle cancer, office visits to the urologist for a testicular mass increase.
  • What the male perceives to be an abnormality is in actuality the epididymis.
  • On exam it is separate from the testis proper, posterior lateral, movable and linear.
  • If sperm fluid accumulates near the head of the epididymis, a spermatocele, the patient perceives this as a “third testicle.”
  • When a male complains that his “testicle” swollen and tender…the culprit is usually the epididymis and not the testis proper.

From the Mayo Clinic-

Epididymitis is an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm. Males of any age can get epididymitis.

Epididymitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Sometimes, a testicle also may become inflamed — a condition called epididymo-orchitis.

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