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Common Conditions Affecting the Testis: Cryptochidism

By Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB

They make Adam, Adam. The prime distinguishing factor between HIM and HER. The two crown jewels. The hanging buddies. The testicles, simply testis. As we celebrate Men’s Health Month, we take a brief look at common conditions that affect this all-important pair down there.

Cryptochidism (Undescended or Mal-descended Testis)
Let’s all take a minute, and confirm that we can feel the two pearls in their usual position. More so in the very young men out there. Early in life, before birth actually, the testis start developing inside the abdomen. In a very complex yet meticulous process, they begin their migration downwards from around week 9 of life. At birth, both testis are in their correct position in about 97% of all men. In small portion, they continue descending during the first year of life. In about 1% of the young men, either one or both testis are not palpable (felt) in the scrotum even after the first year of life. They may be retractile (occasionally felt but other times they move up), located around the groin along their ‘migration route’, or not palpable at all (abdominal or absent). These warrant medical attention.

What are the risks associated with undescended/ mal-descended testis? It affects sperm production and hence impairs fertility, increased chances of trauma and injury and makes it difficult to pick out other abnormalities that may develop on the two gentlemen.

Treatment for a pair that is not down there? Surgery. A relatively simple surgery known as orchidopexy, which involves loosening some of the structures that suspend the pair, translocating them to the right place and fixing them in the scrotum. Ideally done early in life around the age of 1 year. This helps in preserving fertility. But even for those in whom the condition is diagnosed later, surgery is still beneficial in that it minimizes the risk of trauma and aids in early detection of other pathologies that may affect our beloved testis.

So, next time let’s ensure we have felt the pair for all our men, especially the young ones.

Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB, Outspan Hospital

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Common Conditions Affecting the Testis: Epididymorchitis

By Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB

Scrotal pain, swelling sometimes with discharge from the urethra or pain while urinating. That is most likely an infection on Mr. Golden Pair. It can affect any age group. Caused by numerous infectious agents. Can occur in association with either urinary tract infections, and also with sexually transmitted infections.

Feel pain down there, or experiencing some unusual discharge? Rush to your doctor. Treatment involves medication, rest and at sometimes maneuvers for elevating the scrotum to reduce the swelling. Recovery is within a matter of days with appropriate medication. Left unattended, these infections may end up affecting fertility.

Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB, Outspan Hospital

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Common Conditions Affecting the Testis: Testicular Torsion

By Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB

A big enemy to the hanging buddies and a true surgical emergency. The testis are fixed in a very specific pattern inside the scrotum which prevents them from twisting and turning even in their ‘suspended’ position. Sometimes, this attachment is faulty leaving the pair suspended in a fashion similar to bell knob inside a gong. A condition known as Bell Clapper’s deformity. This puts them at risk of rotating and ‘twisting’ around their axis, with some movements. This twisting causes blockage of blood vessels and impairs blood flow down there, referred to as testicular torsion. Characterized by severe pain of sudden onset, usually on one side of the scrotum, with some degree of swelling and may occur after some rapid movement. Most common in younger men.

Treatment: Warrants immediate surgical attention. Surgery ought to be done within 6-8 hours. Delay my led to death of the affected member. Sad.

Timely treatment involves opening up the scrotum, rotating the affected testis back to normal position, and fixing it there. The unaffected member is also fixed to avoid future torsion, referred to as Orchidopexy. However if surgery is delayed, the affected testis my die, and has to be removed to prevent related complications. Sharp, excruciating pain on one side of the testis? See your doctor. Very fast.

Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB, Outspan Hospital

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Common Conditions Affecting the Testis: Testicular Tumors

By Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB

Yes, there are some abnormal growths that can affect your members. Some are non-cancerous and some may be cancerous. Almost all of them are painless. So keep touching your pair and in case you detect anything abnormal, visit your doctor.

If an abnormal swelling is detected, some imaging and blood tests are done so as to inform the next course of action.

Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB, Outspan Hospital

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Common Conditions Affecting the Testis: Testicular Trauma

By Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB

Due to their location, the pair may occasionally take a serious hit. If this happens, don’t in bitterness start fighting with whoever/whatever inflicted the pain. No. First, see your clinician, so as to ensure that everything is okay.

Finally brethren, heat, and friction are enemies to thy golden pair. That is why they’re located down there where there is free air and temperatures are lower than normal body temperature. So, kindly resist tight pants, keep off heated sauna baths, and don’t spend lots of time by the fireside.

The famous preacher and televangelist Joyce Meyer says ‘I believe the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you’. Happy Men’s Health Month.

Dr. Wambugu J. M. MBChB, Outspan Hospital

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