As a baby young boy grows inside his mom’s womb, his testicles usually form inside his abdomen and move down (descend) into the scrotum shortly prior to birth. However in some cases, that relocation or descent doesn’t occur, and the baby is born with a condition known as undescended testicles (or cryptorchidism).
How to Check My Baby’s Testicles?
Cryptorchidism is the most common genital abnormality in kids, impacting approximately 30% of baby kids born prematurely and about 4% born at term.
In about half of the babies, the undescended testicles move down or come down on their own by the sixth month of life. If descent doesn’t occur by then, it is very important to get treatment since testicles that stay undescended may be damaged, which could impact fertility later on or lead to other medical issues.
Lift the baby’s legs carefully, similar to when you are changing his diaper. Feel the scrotum using your fingers. You ought to be able to feel the testicles if they have descended; they will seem like small marbles inside the scrotum.
Doctors typically diagnose cryptorchidism during a physical examination at birth or at an examination soon after. In 7 of 10 boys with an undescended testicle (or “testis”), it can be located or “palpated” on assessment by the pediatric professional.
In 3 of 10 young boys, the testicle might not remain in an area where it can be situated or palpated, and might seem missing. In some of these cases, the testicle could be inside the abdominal area. In some young boys with a “non-palpable” testicle, however, the testicle might not exist since it was lost while the baby was inside the womb.
In some young boys, the testicles (or “testes”) may seem outside of the scrotum from time to time, which can raise the concern of an undescended testicle. A few of these young boys may have the condition referred to as retractile testes. This is a normal condition where the testes live in the scrotum but on event briefly retract or pull back up into the groin.
There is no need to treat a retractile testicle, given that it is a regular condition, however it may require assessment by a pediatric specialist to identify it from an undescended testicle.
If a baby’s testicle has not descended on its own within the first 6 months of life, the young boy should go through examination by a pediatric expert and treatment if the condition is confirmed. This generally includes surgically rearranging the testicle into the scrotum.
Treatment is needed for several reasons:
- The greater temperature of the body might prevent the regular development of the testicle, which could hinder typical production of sperm in the undescended testicle in the future, which could cause infertility.
- The undescended testicle is at a greater risk to form a tumor than the normally descended testicle.
- The undescended testicle may be more susceptible to injury or testicular torsion.
- An unbalanced or empty scrotum might cause a boy concern and embarrassment.
- Often young boys with undescended testicles develop inguinal hernias.
If surgery is done, it’s most likely to be an orchiopexy, in which a little cut is made in the groin and the testicle is reduced into the scrotum where it is repaired (or pexed) in place. Physicians usually do this on an outpatient basis, and the majority of kids recover fully within a week.
Many physicians think that young boys who’ve had a single undescended testicle will have normal fertility capacity and testicular function as adults, while those who’ve had two undescended testicles may be more likely to have decreased fertility as adults.
It is advised that boys who’ve had undescended testicles go through follow-up evaluations by a urologist for many years after their restorative surgical treatments.
It is important for all kids– even those whose testicles have effectively come down– to learn how to do a testicular self-exam when they are teenagers so that they can spot any lumps or bumps that may be early signs of medical issues.