A testicle that retracts between the groin and the scrotum is known as a retractile testicle. Check out the article to know more.
A retractile testicle is one that moves between the groin and scrotum (the sac underneath the penis). A retractile testicle does not pose a severe health problem. This condition can occur in young boys. However, the retractile testicle usually gets resolved by puberty.
Retractile testicles are caused by the testicle moving in and out of the scrotum as a normal response to a stimulus (a reflex). For example, cold, fear, or a little contact with the inside of the thigh might elicit the reflex. Certain children may exhibit a stronger cremasteric reaction than adults. The testicles are attached to a group of muscles called the cremaster muscles that allow them to move in and out of the scrotum. The muscles contract and pull the testicles briefly out of the scrotum, causing retractile testicles. There is no known reason why certain males exhibit an increased cremasteric reaction. There are, however, several risk factors for a retractile testicle which can be:
Low birth weight or preterm birth.
Testicular retraction or other genital abnormalities are already present in the family.
Down syndrome or another birth condition that impairs growth and development.
Alcohol or drug consumption and smoking during pregnancy.
Generally, there are no symptoms shown in boys with retractile testicles, and this condition does not cause any kind of discomfort. Testicular retraction is typically limited to a single testicle. Additionally, it is usually painless, which means your child may be unaware until the retractile testicle is no longer visible or felt in the scrotum.
The physical examination is the first step in diagnosing testicular retraction. The physician may notice that one or both testicles are undescended.
Suppose the testicle can be readily and painlessly pulled down into the scrotum and remain there for an extended period. In that case, the doctor may safely classify the condition as a testicular retraction.
If the testicle can be moved into the scrotum just partially or if movement causes pain, the diagnosis may be undescended testicles.
Occasionally, retractile testicles are confused with undescended testicles (when one or both testicles do not correctly descend into the scrotum during development), but they are not the same.
In the majority of cases, testicular retraction does not require therapy. The problem should resolve by the time puberty begins, if not sooner. Until the testicle completely drops, this is a condition that should be checked and examined annually by a physician.
If a retractile testicle becomes an ascending testicle, surgery may be required to permanently relocate the testicle into the scrotum. Orchiopexy is the term used to describe the operation. During the process, the surgeon separates the testicle and the spermatic cord, which is linked to and protects the testicle from any surrounding tissue in the groin. After that, the testicle is inserted into the scrotum.
As the kid grows older and gains a better understanding of the body, he may develop a sense of self-consciousness about his appearance. In order to assist the child in coping with this situation, the following steps should be taken:
Discuss the scrotum and the testicles.
Explain what a retractile testicle is in simple terms.
Remind him that he is in perfect health and there is nothing wrong, and the condition can be treated.
Teach the child how to conduct self-examinations of his testicles. Instruct him to feel softly around the scrotum. When having a warm shower, the scrotum will hang slightly lower. Inform him that if he detects any changes in his testicles, he should notify them.
For the majority of boys, the problem of a retractile testicle resolves itself prior to or during puberty. The testicle repositions itself in the scrotum and remains there indefinitely. In less than five percent of cases, the retractile testicle remains immobile in the groin. This is referred to as an ascending testicle or acquired undescended testicle. This can cause further complications like:
Torsion and other related malformations.
Inguinal hernia are all more prevalent.
The doctor will inspect testicles during routine well-baby exams and annual childhood checkups to assess if they are descended and appropriately formed. Consult the doctor if the parents suspect that the child has a retractile or ascending testicle or if there are any other worries about the testicles' growth. The physician will advise on the frequency of checkups necessary to monitor for changes in the condition.
A recent study done in Karachi, Pakistan, between the age group of 18 to 40 years, reveals that bilateral retractile testis could be a risk factor for infertility due to retraction affecting sperm motility.
In order to produce sperm, the testicles must be two to three degrees lower than the average body temperature. The scrotum is many degrees cooler than the rest of the body, making it a suitable location for the testicle. Testicles that do not fall into the scrotum will not function properly. The longer the testicles remain excessively heated, the less likely the sperm in those testicles will mature normally. This condition can result in infertility, particularly if both testicles are involved.
Although testicular retraction may cause concern for new parents, it is typically a harmless condition that resolves on its own. Consult the infant or toddler's pediatrician if parents are unsure what to look for. Discuss the timing, risks, and benefits of surgery with the doctor if a retractile testicle does rise permanently. The more information obtained from the child's doctor, the more at ease the parents will feel about the problem and the more readily they will be able to discuss it with the kid when he is of an age to understand.
Last reviewed at:
09 Nov 2022 - 4 min read
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