Undescended testis, also called cryptorchidism, sometimes happens to boys as they grow up. It's when one or both testicles don't go down where they should be, inside a bag-like thing called the scrotum, after birth. The scrotum is under the penis. This condition needs to be looked at because it can affect how a child gets healthy and grows.
Types of Undescended Testis
There are two main types of undescended testis:
- Unilateral: One testicle is affected, and the other is normally positioned.
- Bilateral: Both testicles are not properly descended into the scrotum.
Undescended Testis Symptoms
Undescended testis, or cryptorchidism, can show certain signs you should know about. These signs help find the problem early and get the right help for your child. Here's what to look for:
- No Testicles in Scrotum: The main sign is that one or both testicles aren't where they should be in the scrotum. You might notice that the scrotum seems small or not fully grown.
- Scrotum Seems Empty: If you gently touch the scrotum and can't feel the testicles, they might not have come down like they should.
- Bulge in Groin: Sometimes, undescended testis can make a lump in the groin. This could be a sign of an inguinal hernia, which happens when a part of the belly pushes through the stomach wall. It's important to have a doctor check any lumps in the groin area.
When to See a Doctor
It's important to consult a pediatrician if your child's testicles are not in their normal position by the age of 6 months. Early detection and treatment are crucial for the best outcomes.
Causes of Undescended Testis
Undescended testis is a condition where one or both testicles don't go where they're supposed to, inside the scrotum. This might happen for a few reasons, although experts don't always know for sure. Here's what they think:
- Hormones Out of Balance: Hormones are like messengers that help the body grow right. If the messages guiding the testicles to go down aren't working well, the testicles might stay up.
- Testicles Not Growing Right: When a baby grows in the belly, the testicles start there and then move down. If something goes wrong while they're on the way, they might not reach their spot in the scrotum.
- Born Too Early: Babies born before they're fully ready might have undescended testis. This is because the last bit of moving the testicles happens in the final weeks of being inside Mom.
- Family Connection: Sometimes, undescended testis run in families. If a dad or a brother had it, a child might be more likely to have it, too.
- Hormones Missing: Male hormones called androgens help make the boy parts. If there aren't enough of these hormones, the testicles might not go down.
- Things in the Environment: Some studies suggest that things in the environment, like smoking during pregnancy or certain chemicals, could play a role.
Undescended Testis Risk Factors
Undescended testis, also called cryptorchidism, can be affected by different things that might make a child more likely to have it. Knowing these things can help parents and caregivers watch out for signs and get the right help. Here are some common things that can make undescended testis more likely:
- Not Born at Full Weight: Babies who are born smaller might have undescended testis more often. This is more common if the baby is born before they're fully ready.
- Family Connection: If someone in the family, like a dad or a brother, had undescended testis, a child might be more likely to have it, too.
- Mom's Smoking: When a mom smokes while pregnant, it can raise the chance of undescended testis for the baby. The stuff in tobacco smoke can affect how the baby grows.
- More Than One Baby: If a mom has more than one baby at once, like twins or triplets, the chance of undescended testis might be higher. This is especially true if the babies are born early or are smaller.
- Other Health Problems: Some babies are more likely to have undescended testis if they have certain health issues when they're born, like problems with how they're made or how their hormones work.
Undescended Testis Complications
Undescended testis can lead to fertility problems, increased risk of testicular cancer, and psychological concerns as the child ages.
Undescended Testis Diagnosis
Diagnosing undescended testis, also called cryptorchidism, is like figuring out what's going on in the body. It's important to do this early so that the right steps can be taken to help the child. Here's how doctors check for undescended testis:
- Checking the Body: A doctor, often a children's doctor or a special doctor for children's body parts (pediatric urologist), will look closely at the private area to see if the testicles are where they should be.
- Asking Questions: The doctor will ask about how the baby grew before birth and if anyone else in the family had this problem.
- Feeling Gently: The doctor will use their hands to gently touch the area to see if they can feel the testicles in the right place.
- Picture Time: Sometimes, the doctor might use a special ultrasound camera to take pictures of the body. This helps see where the testicles are.
- Tiny Camera: If the doctor still needs more information, they might use a tiny camera to peek inside the belly and find the testicles.
- Watching Growth: If the testicles aren't in the right place when the baby is born, the doctor will check to see if they move later.
Undescended Testis Treatment
Treating undescended testis, also called cryptorchidism, is important so that a child can grow upright and not have problems later. How doctors treat it depends on how old the child is and how serious the problem is. Here's what they can do:
- Hormone Help: Sometimes, doctors use special medicines to give the testicles a little push to go where they should be. This works better if the testicles are almost there on their own. But once the treatment stops, the testicles might go back up.
- Surgery (Orchiopexy): The main treatment is a special operation called orchiopexy. This is when a doctor carefully moves the testicle to the right spot and ensures it stays there. They do this by securing it inside the scrotum. This surgery usually happens when the child is 6 months and one year old. It helps lower the chances of problems and lets the doctor watch how the testicle grows.
- Two Steps Sometimes: If the testicle is very high, it might need two surgeries. First, the doctor helps it move closer to the right spot inside the body. Then, in the second surgery, they make sure it's where it should be in the scrotum.
- Tiny Camera Surgery: For some kids, the doctor might use a tiny camera to help move the testicles. They make small cuts and use the camera to see their actions. This is good for certain cases.
- Keep Checking: No matter what treatment is chosen, it's important to keep visiting the doctor. This way, they can ensure the testicle is growing well and doing its job.
Undescended Testis Dos and Don'ts
|Consult a doctor if you suspect undescended testis.||Don't delay seeking medical attention.|
|Follow the recommended treatment plan.||Don't ignore the condition.|
|Offer emotional support to your child.||Don't assume it will resolve on its own.|
|Attend regular follow-up appointments.||Don't wait to seek help until later.|
|Keep the scrotum area clean and dry.||Don't attempt to force the testicles down.|
|Encourage healthy habits for your child's growth.||Don't disregard the advice of medical experts.|
|Communicate openly with healthcare professionals.||Don't let fear prevent seeking medical help.|
|Provide an environment for open discussions.||Don't hesitate to ask questions.|
|Stay informed about your child's condition.||Don't rely solely on home remedies.|
|Be patient and understanding throughout the process.||Don't neglect follow-up appointments.|
Undescended Testis Care at Medicover Hospitals
Here at Medicover Hospitals, we care about kids who have undescended testis. Our specialists are experts in children's body parts, called pediatric urologists, are here to help your child feel better. We want to make sure your child is healthy while they get the right treatment. Here's what we do to take care of kids with undescended testis.