An epididymal cyst is a harmless, fluid filled sac that develops in the epididymis. These are quite common (around 30% of men will experience them) and don’t usually require any treatment. It is common for men to feel cysts and mistake them for testicular cancer, however doctors can usually feel the difference.
The epididymis is a small tube at the back of the testicle that stores and transports sperm from the testicles.
These cysts are often caused by a collection of sperm and fluid in the epididymis that cannot drain and can occur for no apparent reason. These cysts most commonly occur in men around the age of 40. They are very rare in children and teenagers however can sometimes occur.
In most cases, an epididymal cyst is painless and do not cause any symptoms. Most of the time the cysts are found when examining the testicles.
If you are thought to have epididymal cysts, your doctor will carry out some tests to ensure that this is the right diagnosis. This will usually involve a physical examination, followed by an ultrasound. A transillumination test can also help to determine if it is a cyst or mass (this is when a bright light is shone through the testicle).
As mentioned before, there is usually no need for any treatment. In some cases, an infection can occur, which can usually be treated and cured with a course of antibiotics.
In rare cases the cysts can become uncomfortable and affect day to day life, in these circumstances’ surgery may be necessary. During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the testicle and carefully remove the cysts from the epididymis. It is important to note that there is a chance that this surgery may affect fertility as removal of the cysts can cause a blockage to the sperm on the side that the operation took place.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.