The testicles are part of the male reproductive system, they are two in number and they are the male gonad; their homologues in the female body are the ovaries. The main function of the testicles is to produce sperm, but they also produce androgens, mainly testosterone. The functions of the testicles are themselves controlled, or rather balanced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is responsible for the release of nine hormones that balance other functions in the body as well. With testicles, the main functions are regulated by gonadotropic hormones, while the luteinizing hormone produces testosterone. Thereby, if any or more of these hormones is no longer produced at normal rates, it can result in testicular dysfunctions and other disorders in the body.
In this article we’ll present a few of the more common testicular dysfunctions, what causes them and some of the treatments and solutions for them. One of the first and perhaps most common of testicular dysfunctions is testicular trauma; because the testis are situated outside the body and are only protected by the scrotum, it can be fairly easy to injure them. Testicular trauma manifests itself through severe pain, bruising and swelling; in more severe cases, testicular rupture can occur, in which case surgery is needed to eliminate the blood from the scrotum and to repair the rupture.
Another common testicular dysfunction is testicular torsion; this happens when the spermatic cord –which is a structure that holds the testicles secured at one end inside the scrotum –, gets twisted, therefore stopping blood supply to the testicles. The symptoms of this disorder are tenderness, swelling, severe pain and enlargement of the affected part. It can occur when strain of the body is involved, or during sports, but it is a very serious problem and needs to be treated immediately, usually through surgery. Perhaps one of the more frightening testicular dysfunctions is testicular cancer, which happens when abnormal cells divide and grow uncontrollably inside the testicles. Testicular cancer can occur in one or both testicles, in both young boys and adult males.
Generally, testicular cancer can be noticed because of a lump, or an irregularity, an enlargement of the affected testicle, or both. Dull aches in the groin can be a manifestation of cancer, or pain in the lower abdomen; other signs are pulling sensations in the scrotum or other pain and discomfort. Other testicular disorders are epididymitis, hypogonadism, Klinefelter’s syndrome, undescended testicles, hemochromatosis and other pituitary disorders.