What is an Epididymal cyst?
An epididymal cyst, often known as spermatocele is benign sac filled with fluid. It develops at the top end of the testicle and is attached to the spermatic cord (the area is called epididymis). These cysts are long tightly coiled tube containing dead sperms and are painless. However, they can cause mild discomfort but won’t affect man’s fertility. It is quite common among men aging above 40 years.
Men who have epididymal cyst are usually quite healthy, but sometimes the cyst can be seen as an indicator of other health conditions, which may be:
- Polycystic kidney disease: An inherited disorder where cyst develops in kidneys and other parts of the body.
- Cystic fibrosis: An inherited cyst which occurs in pancreas, lungs and other parts of the body.
- Von Hippel-Lindau disease: Another inherited condition where a tumor develops in the kidneys, eye and nervous system.
Among children, an epididymal cyst may occur if their mothers were exposed to a chemical (hormone) known as diethylstilbestrol.
- Hydrocele: The presence of fluid in the scrotum is the reason behind hydrocele. It has a higher chance of developing among premature babies.
- Vaicocele: Also known as ‘wriggling bag of worms,’ these are enlarged veins present next to one or both the testis.
- Epididymitis & Orchitis: Sexual transmission infection is the cause of epididymitis and is noticeable when the epididymis is inflamed. Orchitis is caused due to infection which comes from bacteria or mumps virus.
- Lipoma: Lipoma is a fatty lump which gets separated from the testis and causes difficulty.
The occurrence of the spermatocele is still unknown, but it is said that it may develop due to obstruction in the tubes which carry sperm from testicles (epididymal ducts).
Symptoms of Epididymal Cyst
If the spermatocele is small, then they show no symptoms except for its presence when touched. However, if it is larger, then it may have signs and symptoms like:
- Pain in the abdomen, groin & lower back
- Heaviness in the scrotum
- Redness & swelling
- Tender & harden testicle
- Vomiting or nausea
If the reason for the occurrence of epididymal cyst is an infection, then the following symptoms are seen:
- Blood or pus during urination
- Frequent urination
Increase in the rate of risk factors depends upon the symptoms epididymal cyst has. They are:
- Testicular torsion
- Testicular cancer
- Inguinal hernia
At earlier stages, doctors can test it with some physical examination and transillumination, i.e. shine a bright light behind the testicle to see the size. If it is a severe one, then they may prescribe further tests like:
- Urine test
- Blood test
- CT Scan
Complication can arise during or after surgery, but it is uncommon. These complications include:
- Difficulty during development of puberty
- Damaged spermatic cord
If the testicular tumor is small in size, it can be treated non-surgically and few medications like antibiotics or pain relievers can cure the cyst. But if the cyst increases in size, cause irritation and mild pain then the surgery is necessary. In case of children, no treatment is essential because most of the times the cyst disappears on its own.
- One method is to prick the cyst with a needle and drain out the fluid under ultrasound guidance. This process is for short-term effect and has high chances of recurrence.
- Another procedure is to make an incision in the affected area and remove the cyst. Concurrently, shut the opening by stitching it to heal the wound and a few antibiotics may be prescribed. The healing process can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days.
- Another alternative method to surgery is sclerotherapy which involves injecting a liquid into the cyst called sclerosant. This process is not performed because the cyst grows back frequently.
Recommended Diet Changes
- Consume loads of tomatoes & roasted pumpkin seeds
- Eat food which has high amount of zinc
- Avoid caffeine & refined sugar
- Increase in amount of iodine during food consumption