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Genital Examination of Men

Men who have been subjected to torture of the genital region, including the crushing, wringing or pulling of the scrotum or direct trauma to that region, usually complain of pain and sensitivity in the acute period. Hyperaemia, marked swelling and ecchymosis can be observed. The urine may contain a large number of erythrocytes and leucocytes. If a mass is detected, it should be determined whether it is a hydrocele, haematocele or inguinal hernia. In the case of an inguinal hernia, the examiner cannot palpate the spermatic cord above the mass. With a hydrocele or a haematocele, normal spermatic cord structures are usually palpable above the mass. A hydrocele results from excessive accumulation of fluid within the tunica vaginalis due to inflammation of the testis and its appendages or to diminished drainage secondary to lymphatic or venous obstruction in the cord or retroperitoneal space. A haematocele is an accumulation of blood within the tunica vaginalis, secondary to trauma. Unlike the hydrocele, it does not transilluminate.

Testicular torsion may also result from trauma to the scrotum. With this injury, the testis becomes twisted at its base, obstructing blood flow to the testis. This causes severe pain and swelling and constitutes a surgical emergency. Failure to reduce the torsion immediately will lead to infarction of the testis. Under conditions of detention, where medical care may be denied, late sequelae of this lesion may be observed.

Individuals who were subject to scrotal torture may suffer from chronic urinary tract infection, erectile dysfunction or atrophy of the testes. Symptoms of PTSD are not uncommon. In the chronic phase, it may be impossible to distinguish between scrotal pathology caused by torture and that caused by other disease processes. Failure to discover any physical abnormalities on full urological examination suggests that urinary symptoms, impotence or other sexual problems may be explained on psychological grounds. Scars on the skin of the scrotum and penis may be very difficult to visualize. For this reason, the absence of scarring at these specific locations does not demonstrate the absence of torture. On the other hand, the presence of scarring usually indicates that substantial trauma was sustained.

As with sexual assault of women described above, male victims of sexual violence also need to be assessed for prophylaxis of sexually transmitted diseases, Hepatitis B and HIV.