Man grows 'eggshell' around testicle because of parasitic worm

A man grew an 'eggshell' around one of his testicles.
A man grew an 'eggshell' around one of his testicles.

An 80-year old man from India developed a layer of eggshell-like material around his testicle. According to a report published on 6 January 2020 in the BMJ Case Reports, this happened because of a rare reaction to a chronic infection.

The man visited the doctor after experiencing symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection – blood in his urine and discomfort when passing urine.

During the examination, doctors discovered that his one testicle was enlarged and felt “hard and stony” to the touch. CT scans revealed a fluid-filled sac around his testicle – which had hardened due to calcification, like an eggshell.

According to the report, this fluid-filled sac, also called a hydrocele, is not typically found in the scrotum but can develop as a response to an infection. This sometimes happens in newborns and the elderly, especially in response to inflammation and injury.

Caused by a worm

In this case, the infection was diagnosed as lymphatic filariasis (commonly known as elephantiasis), caused by parasitic worms classified as nematodes.

Humans come into contact with the larvae of parasitic worms when they are transmitted through mosquito bites and develop into lymphatic vessels. The worms are found in tropical regions, including India where the patient lives.

According the World Health Organization (WHO), although the formation of hydroceles occurs in millions of men globally, it is very rare for the sac to calcify and form the so-called “eggshell”. According to a previous case report on the matter, the hardening of the sac can indicate a chronic infection.

The treatment

These infections are normally treated with anti-filarial drugs, but may require surgery. The authors of the case study didn't mention how this specific patient was treated.

The authors recommend that people living in areas with high risks of infections related to parasitic worms should be treated annually with anti-filarial drugs. 

Image credit:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 549 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 3051 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 615 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.