Undescended Testicles

Frequently Asked Questions

Undescended testicle or cryptorchidism is a condition where a testicle has not taken its position in the scrotum before the baby boy is born. In most cases, only one testicle is undescended but both the testicles can be undescended in some.

Testicles are usually formed in the abdomen when a baby is in the womb. In the last few months of growth, the testicles slowly descend into the scrotum through the inguinal canal, which resembles a passage. If the baby has an undescended testicle, it means that the process is somehow interfered with. Why this happens is not known. It is thought that a mix of environmental factors, genetics and maternal health may be held responsible.

The main symptom is not being able to see or feel the testicle in the scrotum.

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Family history of the condition
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Conditions like down syndrome or abdominal wall defect
  • Exposure to pesticides when pregnant
  • Smoking cigarette during pregnancy

An undescended testicle is diagnosed primarily through a physical exam by the doctor. The doctor may perform an ultrasound scan and hormone level tests to find the reason behind the undescended testicle.

  • Surgery
    A surgeon can carefully move the testicles into the scrotum and stitch into place using a procedure known as orchiopexy. This has to be done when the boy is 6 to 12 months old. Earlier surgery is to reduce the possible complications. If the boy has an inguinal hernia, this is also fixed in the surgery.
  • Hormone treatment
    Sometimes, the injecting Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone can help the testicle move into the scrotum. But this is less effective than surgery.

To have healthy sperms, the testes need to be cooler when compared to the body. This is why the testicle is placed in the scrotum that hands lower. In the case of undescended testicle, they are in the abdomen which means that the quality and quantity of the sperms is affected negatively. A man with one undescended testicle may be able to father a child, but the fertility may be reduced by half. Fertility can be severely impaired if both the testicles are undescended.

Request Appointment