Risks Factors and Complications of an Undescended Testicle

The testes of a male fetus begin its growth and development in the abdomen before it descends and finally migrates into the scrotum as the gestation period progresses. The occurrence of the descent of the testes from the abdomen to the scrotum is usually happening during the 7th and 8th month of the gestation period. Undescended testicle is a condition where the descent doesn’t take place.

Cryptorchidism or undescended testicle is the condition when the testes do not make a complete natural descent. This descent makes it possible for one or both of the testes moves to the scrotum. Most often this condition resolves on its own but in cases where it doesn’t self-correct surgery is recommended. The surgical procedure is done by anchoring the testicles in to the scrotum in a proper position. This procedure is usually performed during the first and second years of a male baby. Testicular descent may be induced through hormonal therapy and on of the options besides undergoing a surgery procedure.

There is only one symptom for this kind of condition. The only way to find out if you are suffering from an undescended testicle is if you’re having a hard time to find one or both of your testicles in your scrotum. Undescended testicle is diagnosed by a medical professional who specializes in this kind of condition by examining and feeling the testicles in the scrotum. The condition of an undescended testicle may not be too serious if its occurrence happens at the age of 2 years old and below. After this age this condition may lead to a
nonfunctioning testicle at all which will result to not producing sperm cells or male hormones. If this condition is affecting only one of the testicles, the other testicle will produce enough male hormones or sperm cells to maintain fertility.

Risks factors that may cause this condition are one of the following:

  1. Family history of unexplained genitalia abnormalities and newborn deaths
  2. Exposure of the fetus to abnormal levels of certain hormones throughout the gestation period
  3. Endocrine system disturbances during the fetus stage
  4. Fetus suffering from Down syndrome
  5. Age risk pregnancy
  6. Exposure to toxic chemicals during pregnancy
  7. Poor health during pregnancy

Complications may happen with an undescended testicle throughout its course. These complications may include inguinal hernia, male breast cancer, testicular torsion, testicular failure, testicular cancer and fertility problems. Although undescended testicle is typically detected shortly after the baby’s birth, it will be best to consult your doctor once you observe some abnormalities with the testicles of your newborn baby. Immediate diagnoses will help prevent serious problems involving the testicles later in life such as testicular cancer and infertility problems. However, studies showed that 3% to 5% of men with cryptorchidism whether surgically corrected or not is prone to have much, much greater risk of developing a testicular cancer.

After six month of birth the testicles are less likely to descend naturally at all, in fact it is a rare occurrence. Treatment for undescended testicle will be recommended by a doctor, the options are surgery, hormonal therapy or a combination of both. The most common recommendation will be an orchiopexy or orchidopexy. This is a simple corrective procedure which involves incisions done at the scrotum and at the groin for access of the manipulation and the stitching of the testicles into the proper position.