Checking Below the Belt
Granted this may not be a common topic over dinner, but nevertheless it is an important one.
The testes are male sex glands which hang outside the body, that produce sex hormones and sperm. The temperature of the testes are about two degrees lower than the body temperature for sperm production. They are not protected by bone or muscle and so can be more easily injured when hit, kicked or crushed. Prompt medical attention is required.
Twisting of the spermatic cord (torsion) can cut off the blood supply to the testes. Torsion is most common in adolescent males, although all men can be affected. It can occur at rest or during physical activity, following an injury or during a period of rapid growth during puberty. Torsion usually occurs on only one side.
- Severe pain
- Swelling can affect one side or the whole scrotum
Diagnosis is made by physical examination and an ultrasound which shows the blood flow to the testicle.
Treatment for a torsion is surgery within 4 – 6 hours, to undo the twist and preserve the testicle. If treatment is not carried out quickly the testicle may need to be removed.
So the main message to get across to the boys is even though it seems embarrassing, it is definitely not something to be ignored. They need to be taken to hospital promptly for a check as soon as they feel the pain. Other causes of pain may be infection, fluid swelling, blood collection in a vein or a lump.
Click here to learn how to do testicular self-examination each month.
Sister Margaret Bates