Most parents know that certain symptoms that can be associated with serious medical conditions. The most common ones are as follows:

  • stiff neck may mean meningitis
  • abdominal pain may mean appendicitis
  • bad cough may mean pneumonia

Testicular torsion is a rare condition that most parents have never heard of. However, as with the problems noted above, it is important to get urgent medical attention for the condition. Although testicular torsion can occur at any age, it is most common in 12- to 18-year-olds.

In order to prevent the testicles from twisting, they are anatomically anchored within the scrotum. Sometimes, this anchoring is in the wrong place, which allows the testicle to twist 360 degrees. If this happens, the artery that supplies blood to the testicle will twist thereby cutting off its blood supply. Shortly after this occurs, a child will experience pain and swelling because the testicle is being deprived of oxygen. Although this is not a life-threatening condition, the testicle itself may die if the problem is not diagnosed and treated within eight to ten hours.

Although doctors know about the importance of diagnosing and treating testicular torsion as soon as possible, lay people don’t. In addition, since adolescents may be reluctant to discuss genital symptoms with their parents, further delays can occur before the diagnosis is made. You can remedy this situation by asking your doctor to discuss the problem at your next checkup. If a teenager knows that testicular pain is an emergency, he will hopefully be more proactive reporting the problem to his parents.