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18 Now I come to those lesions which are apt to arise in the genital parts around the testicles; and to explain them more easily, the nature of the said region must briefly be described first. The testicles then are somewhat like marrow, for they do not bleed and they lack all feeling; but the coverings by which they are enclosed give pain both when injured and inflamed. Now the testicles hang from the groins, each by a cord which the Greeks call the cremaster with each of which descend a pair of veins and a pair of arteries. And these are ensheathed in a tunic, thin, fibrous, bloodless, white, which is called by the Greeks elytroides. Outside this is stronger tunic, which at its lowest part is[p. 393] closely adherent to the inner one; the Greeks call it dartos. Further, many fine membranes hold together the veins, and the arteries, and the cords aforesaid, and also in between the two tunics there are some fine and very small membranes, descending from the parts above. Thus far the coverings and supports belong to each testicle separately; next common to both and to all within is the pouch which is now visible to us; the Greeks call it oscheon, we the scrotum; and at its lowest part this is slightly connected with the middle coverings, higher up it is only surrounded by them. Now, underneath the scrotal covering many lesions are apt to occur, sometimes after the rupture of the coverings which, as I have said, begin from the groins, sometimes when they are uninjured. Since at times either owing to disease there is first inflammation, then afterwards a rupture from the weight; or after some blow there, there is a direct rupture of the covering which ought to separate the intestines from the parts below; then either omentum, or it may be intestine, rolls down by its own weight; this having found a way gradually from the groins into the parts below as well, there separates by its pressure the coverings which are fibrous and therefore give way. The Greeks call the condition enterocele and epiplocele, with us the ugly but usual name for it is hernia. Now if omentum has come down, the tumour in the scrotum never disappears, either if the patient fasts, or if his body is turned from side to side, or lies in some special position; again, if the breath is held, it does not increase to any extent; to the touch it seems uneven and soft and slippery. But if intestine has also come down this tumour is with-[p. 395]out inflammation, sometimes it diminishes, sometimes increases, and it is generally painless and soft. When the patient is quiescent or lying down, it disappears, at times altogether; sometimes it becomes divided so that very small remnants stay in the scrotum. But after shouting or over-eating, or if the patient has been strained by a weight of any sort, it increases; under all kinds of cold it shrinks, under heat it enlarges; then the scrotum becomes globular and smooth to the touch; and within the scrotum the intestine slips about, when pressed upon it reverts towards the groin, when released it rolls down again with a sort of murmur. That is what happens in slight cases; but at times, when faeces have been taken in, it swells more largely, it cannot be forced back, and it then brings on pain both in the scrotum and in groins and abdomen. At times the stomach also becomes affected, and there is an issue from the mouth, first of red, then of green, and even in some of black bile. At times too, whilst the membranes remain entire, fluid distends the scrotum. There are two forms of this affection: for the fluid collects either between the coverings or in the membranes surrounding the veins and arteries, and then these membranes become thickened and weighted down. And even if the fluid lies between the membranes it is not confined to one place; it may lie between the superficial and middle membrane, or between the middle and inner membranes. The Greeks have one general name, they call it hydrocele, whichever kind it is; our people, not knowing enough perchance to make distinctions, call it by the same name as the preceding disorder. Now[p. 397] there are signs, some common to all cases, some particular: the common one is the existence of the fluid; the particular, the situation of it. We learn that there is fluid underneath, if the swelling never disappears entirely although it is at times less, whether from fasting or feverishness, and especially in boys; the tumour is soft when the fluid contained is only small in amount; but if it increases to a great extent, the tumour becomes tense like a wineskin which has been filled and tightly tied. Also veins in the wall of the scrotum are distended; and upon pressure with the finger the fluid recedes, and as it flows round raises up the part where there is no pressure and is seen through the scrotal wall as if it were contained in a glass or horn vessel; and however much is there is no pain. But the situation of the fluid is recognized as follows: if it is between the scrotal wall and the middle membrane, when we press with two fingers, the humour gradually comes up, returning as the fingers are withdrawn; the scrotal wall is whiter than natural; if it is drawn upon, it stretches either not at all, or very little; the testicle on that side cannot be seen or felt. But if it is under the middle membrane, the scrotum is stretched and more raised up, so that the root of the penis is concealed under the swelling. Besides the above a varicose affection which the Greeks call cirsocele occurs, in which also the membranes are intact. The veins become swollen, and when twisted, and massed together at the upper part, they distend the scrotum generally, or the middle or the inner covering; sometimes they grow even beneath the inner covering around the actual[p. 399] testicle and its cord. Of these the veins in the scrotal wall can be seen; but those situated in the middle or inner coverings, being more deeply placed, are not indeed equally visible but even these can be seen, especially because there is a certain amount of swelling in proportion to the size and form of the veins, and this is more resistant to pressure, and also is rendered irregular owing to the bulgings of the veins, whilst the testicle on that side hangs lower down than it ought. But when the disease has spread also over the testicle and its cord, the testicle sinks a little lower, and becomes smaller than its fellow, in as much as its nutrition has become defective. Sometimes, though rarely, flesh also grows between the tunics; the Greeks call this sarcocele. At times also the testicle itself swells owing to inflammation and this causes fever as well. And unless this inflammation quickly subsides, pain spreads to the inguinal and iliac regions, and these parts swell; the cord from which the testicle hangs becomes fuller, and at the same time it hardens. Besides this it happens sometimes that the groin is occupied by a rupture; they call it bubonocele.
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