A testicle that moves back and forth between the scrotum and the abdomen is known as a retractile testicle. The transition from the scrotum to the abdomen and then back is not painful and can occur spontaneously or during sexual activity, cold temperature, and emotional stress.
Boys before the age of puberty are far likelier to suffer from a retractile testicle than adult males. This problem usually goes away on its own just before puberty but in some cases, it can persist into adulthood as well.
The predominant symptom that is noted in this condition is the actual movement of the testicle from the scrotum to the abdomen and then back. The testicle can usually be guided into the abdomen from the scrotum with the hand by ease and it does not immediately appear back into its place.
Some people describe a ‘pop’ as the testicle comes back into its proper resting place. It is important to distinguish between a testicle that moves back and forth and one that never descends because the course of treatment is vastly different.
The reason why the testicle is pulled back into the body is because of an overactive muscle. The cremaster muscle is the one on which the testicle rests and if it contracts with an increased amount of force then the testicle may be pulled back up towards the abdomen.
In certain conditions, the testicle can actually become retracted into the abdomen and then get stuck there for a prolonged period of time. These reasons include:
- A spermatic cord which has not kept pace with normal development and is thus shorter in length than it should be
- Obstruction in the path of descent of the testicle like that seen due the abnormal presence of fetal tissue
- Scar tissue formation after hernia surgery could affect the growth or the elasticity of the spermatic cord
If you or someone you know has severe pain and discomfort after the testicle retracted then it is advised to get to a hospital immediately and have it checked out. Torsional injury is much more likely to occur in retracted testicles than in their normal position.
Retractile testicles do not require any serious medical intervention on their own but need to be observed carefully over a period of time to ensure that they do not become ‘stuck’ in the up position. There was a time when hormonal treatment was given for retractile testicles, however, that is no longer the protocol as scientific evidence has not backed up the long-term effectiveness of this approach.
If, however, a testicle becomes ascended then it must be brought down surgically through a procedure called as an orchiopexy.
Having a retractile testicle is not something that should be overly worrying, however, it is definitely something that you need to speak about with your health provider. The affected person must receive the proper knowledge about possible complications, things to watch out for, and ay situations in which the doctor must be contacted immediately.
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