Testicles

Your testosterone factory
Image by Nicki Varkevisser CC BY 2.0 Cropped

Check your balls

Need to know they are OK

Image by The359 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Definitions

Testicles
'Balls' that hang inside a skin bag underneath a male's penis.
Scrotum
The skin bag that holds the testicles
Cancer
Abnormal growth of cells usually forming a lump
Slang
Balls, stones, family jewels, nuts, gonads, itchy and scratchie, goolies, nads, cojones (kahoonies)
Sperm
Microscopic male reproductive cells found in semen.
Testosterone
Hormone which causes male sex characteristics and sex drive.

Normal balls

Your testicles (two of them) make testosterone and sperm. They hang in a skin pouch (scrotum) to allow them to run cooler than your body temperature to work properly. Notice when cold the testicles are up close to your body and when hot they are hanging low away from your body? That is the automatic temperature regulation system in operation to keep your testicles at the correct temperature.

Become familiar with the look, feel and shape of your testicles - this will help you notice anything wrong.

The characteristics of healthy testicles include:

  • Each testicle feels like a smooth, firm egg.
  • One testicle tends to hang lower than the other.
  • One testicle may be slightly larger than the other.
  • There is no pain or discomfort when the testicles and scrotum are handled gently.
  • The testicles and scrotum will be pulled up close to your body when they are cold. They will be hanging down loose when hot. This is handled automatically to keep the testicles at the right temperature.

Regular checks

Guys know their testicles are there but never really have a close regular inspection. The reason you need to learn to check your testicles has to do with cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer that occurs in young guys and can be cured easily if the cancer is detected early. The only way to detect cancer early is to regularly check your testicles.

This is a clinical site about how to check your testicles.

This second site has a video from 'Embarrassing bodies' showing how to check your testicles. I can't hyperlink because I will lose my page secure status (https connecting to http) Copy and paste the address:
http://www.tc-cancer.com/about/self-exam.html

Testicle size

An Orchidometer is used by medical professionals to check for normal testicle size. For a non-medical assessment 'Adult testicles range in size from about 15 mL (similar to a bird egg) to 35 mL (similar to a small chicken egg)'.

Missing testicle

Testicles begin life in the abdomnem and descend into the scrotum while the baby is still in the mother's womb. Sometimes one or both testicles don't move into the scrotum and are regarded as missing. You should see a doctor if this is you since complications can occur later in life.

If you are a teenager or an adult with an undescended testicle you should definitely see your doctor. There is no need to feel embarrassed, because all doctors know this is a problem that needs attention.

You've got balls

This can apply to guys or girls and is slang to mean 'having courage'. There are lots of ideas about how the connection came to be made but possibly came from the relationship between testicles producing testosterone which can cause aggression and risk taking.

Injury

Only another guy understands what it feels like to have the testicles hit by something - even lightly. The pain and discomfort is beyond words and goes right up through the whole body. If the pain does not go away after a reasonable period of time or new lumps or swelling appears, better to get a doctor to check it out.

As the testicles perform a limited but important role that isn’t replicated anywhere else in the body, damage to them should be taken seriously and medical attention sought.

Performance supplements

Using performance supplements to build muscle mass, improve performance or make you more of a man is a decision that will came back to haunt you as you get older. When you take additional testosterone into your body, your testicles reduce their production since they sense your body has enough testosterone and they begin to shrink. They will never be the same again.

Steroids and their precursors can have severe, long-lasting health effects. In growing adolescents one of the major risks of using anabolic steroid precursors is the permanent stunting of height.

Users of anabolic steroids can become both physically and psychologically dependent upon the drugs...withdrawal can lead to depression and possible suicide. Depressive symptoms can persist for up to one year after the user stops taking the steroid.

Find a problem?

Don't ignore it if you think you might have a problem. Immediately swallow your pride and get medical advice. A doctor will examine your testicles and advise you if there is a problem. If testicular cancer is detected early in its development, then the cure rate is almost 100%. If there is a problem, the longer you leave it to go to the doctor, the less chance of total recovery.

The fears you need to overcome to go to the doctor are: the fear of the unknown; the fear of having to expose your private parts; the fear of having an erection when the doctor is examining you; fear of the consequences if cancer is diagnosed; fear of death; fear of what others will think; fear of losing control of your privacy.

More information

Prostate.net website
12 Things All Men Should Know About Their Balls.

References

References noted above