Testicles that don’t descend into the scrotum before birth are referred to as undescended testicles. Cryptorchidism is another name for it. Most frequently, there is only one testicle that does not drop into the scrotum, the pouch of skin hanging behind the penis. However, occasionally both testicles may be affected.
Premature babies are more likely than full–term babies to have an undescended testicle. The condition occurs in about 3% of newborns, but they can occur up to 30% more frequently in premature infants. Within a few months after the infant is born, an undescended testicle frequently descends on its own. Surgery can be performed to move the testicle into the scrotum if your kid has an undescended testicle that doesn’t go down on its own.
The primary sign of an undescended testicle is neither the ability to see nor feel a testicle in the scrotum.
The development of testicles occurs within the lower abdominal region of an unborn baby. The testicles usually descend from the region of the stomach during the final few months of pregnancy. They enter through the inguinal canal, a tube–like passage in the groin, and then descend into the scrotum. That procedure halts or is delayed in the presence of an undescended testicle.
During a checkup performed soon after birth, an undescended testicle is frequently found. Ask how frequently exams will need to be performed if your child has an undescended testicle. By 3 to 4 months of age, the testicle should have shifted into the scrotum; otherwise, the problem is likely to persist.
Treatment of an undescended testicle when the child is still a baby may reduce the likelihood of health issues in the future. Testicular cancer and infertility, the inability to get a spouse pregnant, are examples of this.
In older boys, ranging from infants to preteens, who were born with descended testicles, it is possible for one or both testicles to appear to be absent at a later stage. This observation could be indicative of:
If you see any changes in your child’s genitals or if you have any other worries, speak with their physician or another member of their care team.
It is unknown what specifically causes an undescended testicle. A combination of genes, the mother’s health, and other variables may be at play. They may interfere with each other and the hormones, physiologic changes, and nerve activity that affect how the testicles develop.
A newborn’s risk of having an undescended testicle may be increased by:
Pregnancy–related or gestational diabetes in the mother.
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