The testicles, also called testes or balls, are a man’s oval-shaped organs that sit in a sac that hangs behind the penis. According to WebMD, “the main job of testicles is to make and store sperm and produce testosterone. Testosterone is the male hormone that’s responsible for the changes that occur during puberty.”
For all men, since your testicles are your big T (testosterone) producers, you want to make sure that they are healthy at all times.
Fact #1: Unidentical testicles are okay (to an extent)
On average, the testicles are about two inches long. In most men, the right testicle is slightly bigger or hang lower behind the other. However, a healthy pair of testicles should never feel painful. And even if one is bigger, it should not have a completely different shape. As for the scrotum, although usually wrinkly, the testicles themselves should still feel smooth and firm, but never hard.
If you experience out-of-the-blue pain and swelling of the testicles, you may have testicular torsion, which means your testicles are twisted within the scrotum. The condition calls for immediate medical attention and will involve surgery. Torsion can occur after trauma, but some men are simply born with testicles that rotate more freely. Another issue that is slightly less urgent but still elicits a trip to the doctor is inflammation, swelling, or a feeling of tenderness, all of which signals a chlamydia infection.
Fact #2: Men can have more than two testicles
Polyorchidism is a rare condition where a man has more than two testicles. In fact, only around 100 cases of the condition have been reported in scientific literature. Often detected when a man is about 18 years of age, the extra testicle is usually near the left sac of the scrotum. In most cases, men with polyorchidism will have three testicles, sometimes more. The condition may or may not affect fertility, but some suggest that polyorchidism is the reason some men remain fertile even after a vasectomy.
Fact #3: The balls can have bumps and lumps
There are several causes of bumps on a man’s balls, with the majority being harmless. For example, epididymal cysts are fluid-filled lumps found at the back of the testicles. Although the painless cysts usually don’t require treatment, you should still see your doctor to ensure that all lumps and bumps are benign.
Fact #4: Some habits can cause infertility
If you have fertility concerns, it is of utmost importance to abstain from drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, as well as increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods. Alcohol can not only decrease your testosterone and sperm production, but it can also cause erectile dysfunction. Smoking cigarettes, on the other hand, is also associated with lower sperm count.
If you are fond of physical activities, be wary of those that overheat your testes, such as bicycling, which may reduce your sperm count.
Fact #5: Men can (and should) check their balls for testicular cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 out of 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime. Therefore, it is crucial for men to perform a testicular self-exam at least once every month. Any change in shape, size, or a sudden feeling of tenderness and pain should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible. In case of a cancer diagnosis, do not hesitate to call New Hope at 480-757-6573 to discuss your treatment options.