When you think about the organs of your body, you might notice that they all come in pairs, such as your kidneys and lungs. This is true of testicles, too. However, if you are born without both, you can still lead a full and healthy life. Although it is not uncommon for a man to have only one testicle, it can have some serious consequences, including cancer and self-esteem problems. Fortunately, treatment for undescended testicles is available and you can find out if yours is infected or not.
Most cases of undescended testicles in young children are not detectable by palpation, so they are not diagnosed until later in life. If the undescended testicle is not palpable, a pediatric urologist will often suggest further testing. In some cases, a contrast agent injected into the bloodstream can indicate undescended testicles. This diagnostic procedure, called laparoscopy, may be performed to locate undescended testicles. It may also involve corrective surgery.
A rare condition known as vanishing testicular syndrome results in a man having only one or an undescended, single-testicle condition. In this case, one or both testicles may be absent at birth or have been lost due to trauma. A regular visit to the doctor will help catch the condition early and prevent further complications. However, an undescended testicle is difficult to detect, and it can affect the man’s self-esteem and his ability to initiate sexual relationships.
Symptoms of undescended testicle
Although undescended testicles are a common problem, they are not a cause for alarm or an immediate health risk. Undescended testicles form in the tummy of a baby boy during pregnancy and move into the scrotum about a month before birth. While undescended testicles are perfectly healthy, there are a few causes of undescended testicles. Premature birth, low birth weight, and family history of undescended testicles all increase the chances of having undescended testicles. However, if a testicle remains in the scrotum after birth, it will need to be surgically removed. A physical examination will confirm whether or not your testicles are still attached to the scrotum.
Undescended testicles are easily detected during routine checkups soon after birth, and if detected early, treatment can help prevent other problems. Undescended testicles are similar to retractile testicles, which move up when scared. However, if left untreated, undescended testicles can cause infertility and even sperm temperature problems. Early treatment can help reduce the risk of these problems, which could lead to infertility and testicular cancer.
The first step in treating a man with only one testicle is to rule out other cancers. The disease is often a result of radiation, which can damage surrounding lymph nodes. Radiation can also damage the remaining testicle, which can be removed using a procedure called radical inguinal orchiectomy. Treatment after removal of a testicle involves regular follow-up examinations to make sure the cancer is not returning.
Another treatment option is a surgical procedure known as orchiopexy, which can remove the single testicle. This is usually done at a young age to minimize the risk of long-term damage to the testicle and reduce the likelihood of other problems. In some cases, an undescended testicle may develop later in childhood or adolescence, but it can be corrected.
Side effects of losing one testicle
For some men, losing one testicle is a life-changing event. For others, it can result in depression, low self-esteem, and embarrassment. Whether it’s an unexpected side effect of cancer or the result of a traumatic event, talking about the effects of losing one testicle can be helpful. A man’s partner is likely to be much more interested in his health than his feelings about his lack of sex drive.
Men with one testicle still have a normal sex life. One testicle provides enough testosterone to support an erection and produces sufficient sperm for fertilization. If a man loses one testicle, he will still be able to become pregnant, but he might have to be more careful with his love life and sexual activities. In any case, he should seek medical help if he is experiencing self-consciousness.