Article Abstract

Relationship between chronic testicular pain and mental health diagnoses

Authors: Kuwong B. Mwamukonda, Jeremy C. Kelley, Doug S. Cho, Anna Smitherman


Background: Chronic testicular pain (orchialgia) has been defined as intermittent or constant unilateral or bilateral testicular pain that lasts 3 months or longer, significantly interfering with daily activities, and prompting the patient to seek medical attention. In many instances, the etiology of the pain is not identified. The contribution of psychological factors is unclear. The purpose of this study was to identify the categories of mental health (MH) diagnoses that are most frequently associated with orchialgia and determine if a correlation exists between MH diagnoses and orchialgia.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed to identify all adult patients within the San Antonio Military Health System with a new diagnosis of orchialgia from January 2005 to April 2015. Patients with acute pathology or recent inguinal/scrotal surgery were excluded. A comparative cohort of all men presenting with hydroceles within the same timeframe was obtained. The presence of coexisting MH diagnoses in both cohorts was then determined.
Results: Four hundred and forty-four men met the inclusion criteria for orchialgia, with 133 men presenting with hydroceles. The incidence of orchialgia increased significantly over the study period (P=0.001). MH diagnoses in the study population did trend upward over the years, but not significantly (P=0.063). MH diagnoses were not significantly higher in the cases compared to the controls (21.6% vs. 18.8%, P=0.479). The prevalence of anxiety was twice as high in the cases (9% vs. 4.5%), though not significantly (P=0.075). The prevalence of all MH diagnoses was significantly higher than in the general US population based on National Institute of Mental Health statistics.
Conclusions: The incidence of orchialgia rose significantly over time, but it was not significantly associated with MH diagnoses. These results may also be skewed by the overall higher percentage of MH diagnoses in the study population than in the general population.