The testicles, the male reproductive sex glands, produce sperm and the hormone testosterone and are found in the scrotum (the sac below the penis). Undescended testicles, also known as cryptorchidism, refer to testicles that fail to reach the scrotum while in the womb and at birth can reside anywhere between the kidney and the scrotum. The condition is listed under four different categories depending on where the testicle is found.
- Abdominal testicle;
- Ectopic testicles;
- Canalicular testicles; and
- Retractile testicles.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
There are no symptoms associated with an undescended testicle.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
No definite cause for one or both undescended testicles has been determined.
The condition is usually diagnosed during examinations of an infant male after birth.
Surgery is the standard treatment for undescended testicles. If the testicles are removed, the procedure is called orchiectomy. If the testicles are moved, the procedure is called orchidopexy. Both the orchidopexy and orchiectomy should be performed when a child is between 1 and 2 years of age.
If the undescended testicle is near the scrotum, physicians may instead treat the condition with multiple injections of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that stimulates the production of testosterone and encourages the testicles to descend.