WHAT IS TESTICULAR EXAMINATION?
A testicular exam is a simple diagnostic test for observing the testicles for discovering probable lumps, cancer, or disease.
The testicles can be found just below the male private organ “Penis” placed inside the scrotum sack containing two testes making up the “Testicles“. These testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and hormonal testosterone though they are small in size and oval in shape. Finally, the last part of the testicle is the epididymis which is responsible for the storage of the sperm produced by the testes. These testicles start development in the unborn male child which then migrates to the scrotum just before birth or after childbirth for some cases.
There are some detrimental cases where the testicles inside the male child do not migrate to the scrotum sac, this can result in a possible cancer of the testicles. This case occurs mainly in male children that are premature.
The testicular examination can either be done by yourself or by medical personnel. When the testicular exam is done by the patient, the process is called a “Testicular Self Examination“. A thorough survey is done by the patient with the aid of a mirror and the eyes, holding the penis at different angles and searching for irregularities or lumps.
Then, when the examination is done by a doctor who observes closely it is called a “Testicular Examination” or “Testicular Exam“.
WHY IS A TESTICULAR EXAM DONE?
A testicular exam should be a regular procedure for maintaining healthy testicles in males. Observing the scrotum sac regularly can aid you to identify changes in the testicles If changes in the testicles are deducted early, it will help in proffering early solutions which in turn prompts quick recovery. Infections, lumps, cysts, or even cancer may be present in the testicles, though, there are rare cases of cancer in the testicles which is more occurring for males within the range of 15-35 years old.
The infection can be visible or not, while the lump size is big and visible, although, said to be painless. The testicular exam helps to discover these cases and early discovery increases the chances of the effectiveness of the cure.
Symptoms such as swelling, shrinking, inflammation or even pains around the testicles warrants a check to identify the affected area before going to the hospital for a follow-up examination for the diagnosis of the patient.
ELIGIBILITY FOR A TESTICULAR EXAM
All males are required to undergo this testicular examination weekly or monthly to monitor the condition of the testicles. Though, it has not been proven that the testicular exam decreases the possibility of death resulting from cancer.
PREPARATION FOR A TESTICULAR EXAM
Testicular self-examination does not require any specific preparations as the procedure is very easy to perform. A warm bath is advisable though as temperature affects the body greatly, high temperature is a necessity for optimum observation as a low temperature can lead to folding of the scrotum sac, therefore, possible inaccurate assessment.
Also, if the scrotal exam is done in a hospital, it is advisable to urinate before the test and change into the hospital gown.
TESTICULAR EXAM PROCEDURE
The procedure for performing the testicular is very simple making it easy for a patient to conduct the testicle self-check. The scrotal examination can be conducted in two different ways:
- Testicular examination by the doctor:
This procedure is done in a hospital where the patient may be required to lay down at first then examined before asked to stand for further inspection.
The doctor observes the genitals by moving the male penis up to give way for the observation of the testicles. The scrotum is checked for lumps, the texture is examined, the testicles are weighed in case it is heavier than normal, checking for irregular sizes, shrinkage, or possible missing testicles.
Lump present in the testicle will need further examination by using a light to observe if the light can penetrate. If the lump is a tumor, the light will not penetrate and it is heavier than the regular testicles.
While the lump is called “hydrocele” when the light penetrates the lump. A hydrocele is a condition that is a result of swelling caused by fluid build-up in the testicles. Finally, the lymph nodes around the genitals are inspected for any sign of lump.
- Testicular Self-Exam:
A testicular self-exam is performed after having a warm bath enabling the scrotum sac to relax. The legs can be spread widely or even one leg placed at an elevated level then the scrotum is gradually examined while standing in the front of a mirror
The scrotum is rubbed gently, seeking for any signs of lump, the irregular shape of testicles, though, one testicle bigger than the other does not indicate any harm as it is a normal case. The epididymis might be felt which is a soft part located behind each of the testicles.
If a lump is noticed or irregularities or is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. An ultrasound might be conducted to deduct symptoms present.
Also, a blood test might be performed to check for cancer, then, if cancer is present, surgery can be performed that involves the removal of the testicles. This removal does not necessarily mean a reduction in libido or fertility. But the presence of cancer can have an impact on the fertility of the male.
SYMPTOMS OF TESTICULAR CANCER
The major sign of testicular cancer is always a lump, though the presence of a lump does not mean cancer is imminent. The symptoms are listed below:
- Heaviness in the scrotum.
- Pain in the testicles.
- Pain in the groin.
- Pain in the back.
- Rigid testicles.
RESULT OF A TESTICULAR EXAM
After the scrotal examination, the presence of lump or irregularities requires the attention of a doctor where a biopsy or ultrasound is done. Most times, not all conditions are attributed to cancer. Some changes can be observed in the scrotum that is not a result of cancer. Infections, cysts, or hernia can cause changes in the scrotum
RISKS INVOLVED IN THE TESTICULAR EXAM
The testicular exam has no risks involved as it is not invasive. The only risks involved is when irregularities are found and further check-up is required.
No specific person is required to conduct this process, it can be done by anybody including your partner. Only follow-up test requires the aid of a doctor or nurse. It can be performed by a female doctor or a male doctor.
The test is mostly conducted by individuals therefore no fee is required except for follow-up tests where the ultrasound or biopsy is dependent on what is to be diagnosed. The cost of a testicular exam ranges from $120 to $800 US Dollars.
- How do you know your balls are dead?
When pain is felt in testicles even without swelling or color change, medical attention is required. Though, if the balls are red, tender, or swollen, it is a sign of a possible testicular torsion.
- How often should a male perform the testicular exam?
It is advisable to go to the clinic for a testicular check-up once a year at least as the early discovery of any disease or infection increases the probability of being cured.
- Can stress cause testicular pain?
Stress might not directly induce pain in the testicles but rubbing the testicles hardly while screening for lumps can lead to pains in the testicles.
- Can testicular pain go away?
The pain felt in the testicles can take 2 to 4 days for normal testicular pain but it all depends on the cause of the pain. Generally, it can take up to 4 weeks for the testicular pain to stop.
- Can sit for too long cause testicular pain?
Sitting in a position for too long especially at desk offices can result in Chronic Testicular Pain (CTP). Also, heavy lifting and hard labor contribute to testicular pain.