Guys, got painful balls? UBC wants you

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      While Pete Schweddy’s balls may have given Saturday Night Live viewers the giggles, there’s a different kind of testicular issue that may have men crossing their legs just reading about it.

      Chronic scrotal pain—also known as chronic testicular pain or chronic orchialgia—is intermittent or constant pain experienced in the scrotal area that can last for three months or longer and interferes with regular activities, including walking, running, sitting, wearing form-fitting clothing, intercourse, and ejaculation.

      Although it is most commonly experienced by men in their 20s and 30s, any males from adolescence to those in their 60s can suffer from the condition. While more than 4.5 percent of men report experiencing this type of pain, many men remain undiagnosed, with only half of one percent seeking medical treatment.

      Dr. Ryan Flannigan, a Vancouver Prostate Centre senior scientist, says that he has seen between 75 to 100 men over the past six months who have this condition.

      “There’s a lot of really good evidence that men are much less likely to seek medical care than women because of masculinity, identity and roles in our society, especially in younger adults,” Dr. Flannigan stated in a news release. “Those without a partner are at higher risk. Usually men’s partners hold them accountable and encourage them to be assessed by a health care provider.”

      Possible causes can include a prior infection, inflammation of the sperm-carrying and -storing tube at the back of the testicles, irritated or pinched nerves from hernia surgery, testicular torsion, lower back strain, cancer, a physical impact or injury in the testicle area, or vasectomy.

      However, the cause of almost half of these cases (44 percent) remains unknown.

      When asked to evaluate their pain level out of 10, most men rate it as three to five on average while during flares, they rate it as nine to 10.

      Treatment options range from physiotherapy to anti-inflammatory medication, antidepressants, or neuromodulators to surgery (if a hernia or infection is not a cause). Other possibilities include steroids or anesthetics injected into the nerve-containing spermatic cord, which can only provide temporary relief.

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      As Dr. Flannigan is also an assistant professor and director of the male infertility and sexual medicine research program in the UBC department of urologic sciences, he and other UBC researchers will be running a trial in July to test the use of a polymer paste (developed by UBC spinoff company Sustained Therapeutics) that will administer the medication at a slower rate.

      The first part of the study will examine the safety and tolerability of an injectable lidocaine paste in men with a spermatic cord block and determine a recommended dose for further studies.

      Men who are interested in participating can find out more by contacting the clinical trials unit at the Vancouver Prostate Centre by email or calling 604-875-5675.

      However, if you are looking for more dinky content, check out this article about the best penises ever.