"Are my testicles — or balls — normal?" Considering that your testicles have the important dual functions of producing sperm and regulating your testosterone levels, it's an important question, and one plenty of guys ask themselves.
Causes Of Small Testicles
Small testicles — anything smaller than 3.5 centimeters in adult men — can signify a wide variety of health issues. Causes include, in brief:
- Klinefelter syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that affects males. Children with the disorder are typically taller than their peers and have learning difficulties. Adults have a higher chance of developing breast cancer and lupus, and the reduced testosterone associated with their smaller testicles is linked to gynecomastia, reduced facial hair, and infertility.
- Physical trauma, caused by anything from an accident to the mumps.
- A side effect of taking certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
- The secondary result of another medical condition, like hemochromatosis or liver cirrhosis.
- Cryptorchidism, or undescended testicles, can lead to permanently smaller testicles even if the issue was corrected surgically.
- A varicocele, or enlargement of veins in your scrotum.
- Steroid use.
Research has shown that abnormally small testicles are indeed associated with a higher chance of infertility.
Testicular Growth During Puberty
Most teen boys will see a testicular growth spurt between about the ages of 10 and 13, a process that marks the first physical sign of puberty in boys. If you haven't seen any changes by the time you've reached 13, it's OK to ask your parents if you can have a little chat with your doctor. Before that, though, remember that though the stages of pubertal development have a medically normal window, puberty doesn't follow an exact time table!
While we're at it, you should also know that your two testicles are almost always different sizes, and one will hang below the other.
Are My Testicles Normal?
If you are seriously concerned, ask your doctor. Testicle size and volume is determined by means of an ultrasound or an orchidometer — a series of models of testicles in different sizes, to which your doctor can compare yours. You may also have your testosterone levels checked out.
Most of the time, you will be reassured that there is nothing wrong with you. Testicles, like other parts of the body, come in a range of sizes and appearances. As you will have seen from the list of causes of testicles that are medically deemed small, they mostly pertain to issues the affected individuals will already be aware of. Chances are that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your testicles or their size, and that they function completely normally.
If you're still unhappy with the size of your testicles, you may be interested in learning that one study found that guys with abnormally large balls actually have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
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