Undescended Testicle (Adult)
An undescended testicle, also known as cryptorchidism, refers to a condition in which one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen, where they develop during fetal growth, into the scrotum before birth. Cryptorchidism is relatively common in newborns and infants, and in many cases, the testicles descend into the scrotum on their own during the first few months of life. However, when an undescended testicle persists into adulthood, it can require medical attention and possibly surgical treatment.
Persistence into Adulthood
- While most cases of undescended testicles in infants resolve on their own, some testicles do not descend into the scrotum as expected.
- If a testicle remains undescended into adulthood, it is referred to as a “cryptorchid testicle” or an “undescended testicle in adults.”
- The exact cause of cryptorchidism is not fully understood, but it may involve a combination of hormonal, genetic, and developmental factors.
- In some cases, the testicle may be stuck in the inguinal canal (the passage between the abdomen and the scrotum) due to a lack of proper attachment.
Complications and Risks
An undescended testicle can lead to potential complications in adulthood, including an increased risk of testicular cancer, reduced fertility, and an increased risk of testicular torsion (twisting of the spermatic cord).
A healthcare provider or urologist can diagnose an undescended testicle through physical examination, imaging (such as ultrasound), and possibly hormone tests to assess testicular function.
- The treatment approach for an undescended testicle in adults depends on factors such as the location of the testicle, the patient’s age, and the potential risks.
- Surgery: Surgical treatment called orchiopexy is commonly recommended. During this procedure, the testicle is moved from its abnormal location (often the inguinal canal) into the scrotum and fixed in place. Orchiopexy can help reduce the risk of complications and improve the chances of preserving testicular function.
- In some cases, if the testicle is deemed non-functional or if the individual prefers not to undergo surgery, they might opt not to pursue treatment.
The prognosis after orchiopexy is generally positive, and the risk of complications like testicular cancer and fertility issues can be reduced.
If you suspect you have an undescended testicle or are experiencing discomfort or other symptoms related to your testicles, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider or a urologist. They can provide a proper diagnosis, assess the need for treatment, and recommend appropriate options based on your specific situation and needs. Early detection and treatment can help prevent potential complications and improve long-term outcomes.