Just as women are advised to check their breasts, it's really important that men check their
testicles (balls) once a month. It's the best way to find any lumps, swellings, or other abnormalities that could be a sign of an underlying problem.
Checking your testicles
The best time to check your testicles is after a hot bath, or shower, when they are relaxed. Hold your scrotum (the sac containing your testicles) in the palm of your hand and use your fingers and thumb to feel the size and weight of each one. Roll the testicle gently, feeling for any hard lumps. A normal testicle is oval shaped and should be firm, but not hard.
You may feel small lumps or a tube at the back of each testicle - this is the coiled up sperm tube, called the epididymis, and is perfectly normal. It's also normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other one, or hang slightly lower.
What to do if you find anything unusual
When examining your testicles, you are looking for any unusual lumps, or swellings, that weren't there before. You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you notice anything unusual. If the lump is painful, it may be caused by an infection. You should avoid having sex until you have been checked out by your doctor.
If you notice something that feels like a bag of worms in your scrotum, you may have a varicocele. A varicocele is when the
veins in your scrotum become swollen. They are normally harmless and do not cause symptoms. Recent research has produced little evidence to show that varicoceles cause infertility, and there is also little evidence to suggest that treating someone with a varicocele increases their fertility.
Most testicular abnormalities are a result of injury, infection,
inflammation, or non-cancerous (
benign) swelling. However, in some rare cases, it can be a sign of testicular cancer. The good news is that over 95% of cases of testicular cancer are curable if treated early, which is why regular self-examination is so important.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice,
diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.