As we get older and go through puberty our bodies are changing all the time and that is why is it so important to get to know your balls.
By knowing what is normal for you will help you to understand when things are different and may need checking out.
- Testicles, also called testes or balls, are oval-shaped organs that sit in a sac that hangs behind the penis
- Your testicles will grow in the early stages of puberty, between the ages of 10 to 13. As your testicles grow, the skin around the scrotum — the sac that holds the testicles — will darken, hang down, and begin to develop hair.
- On average, testicles grow to be about 2 to 3 inches in length and 1 inch in width
- Most men’s testicles are about the same size, but it’s common for one to be slightly bigger than the other. It’s also common for one testicle to hang lower than the other.
- The testicles should feel smooth, without any lumps or bumps, firm but not hard. You may feel a soft tube at the back of each testicle, which is called the epididymis.
- The main job of testicles is to make sperm and produce testosterone. Testosterone is the male hormone that’s responsible for the changes that occur during puberty
- For your testicles to produce sperm, they must be kept at just the right temperature. As a result, scrotum will change size to make sure the testicles stay at that right temperature. This happens without you even thinking about it. So, when you are cold, your body sends a message to the scrotum to shrivel and preserve heat
- Your scrotum will become larger and more floppy to release extra heat if you are hot.
It’s important to check yourself regularly as you will then be aware of any lumps and bumps that have appeared. There are several causes for lumps and bumps and these include;
- varicocele – caused by enlarged veins in the testicles (may look like a bag of worms)
- hydrocele – a swelling caused by fluid around the testicle
- epididymal cyst – a lump caused by a collection of fluid in the epididymis
- testicular torsion – a sudden painful swelling that happens when a testicle becomes twisted (this is a medical emergency and requires surgery as soon as possible)
- epididymitis – a chlamydia infection in the epididymis can cause inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the scrotum (ball sack); a few men will notice that the whole of the scrotum is red and tender (this is called epididymo-orchitis)
- testicular cancer – an uncommon cause of lumps
If you notice any changes or anything unusual about your testicles, you can contact your school nurse via Chathealth or seek immediate medical attention if you are in pain.
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency and can happen at any time. It is important that you understand what it is, how to spot the signs and also how to seek medical advise. Please watch the following video to learn more about testicular torsion