What You Need to Know About Undescended Testicles

What You Need to Know About Undescended Testicles

You’ve known throughout your pregnancy that you were having a little boy. Or maybe you waited until the birth, anticipating the exciting surprise as each day passed by. So when the doctor announced, “It’s a boy!” you immediately rejoiced and began to picture all the adventures you would have with your son in the years to come.

But then, something was wrong. Ten fingers, ten toes, one penis, and… no testicles.

Don’t panic! This can actually be a fairly normal condition, and one that often requires no treatment at all.

Here’s what you need to know:

How Does it Happen?

A baby’s testicles form in the womb, within their stomach to start. It is only shortly before birth that these testicles will drop (or descend).

For some babies, though, that doesn’t happen before birth, a condition known as “undescended testicles.” This happens 30 percent of the time with premature babies and 4 percent of the time with births that were otherwise on time.

How is it Diagnosed?

Your baby’s undescended testicles might not be caught immediately. After all, there is a lot of excitement going on, and it might be missed in the counting of fingers and toes. But usually, a doctor or nurse will alert you to the issue during one of your baby’s early exams.

When the testes are undescended, 70 percent of the time the doctor should still be able to feel them by palpating around where they should be. When they can’t be located that way, they may still be in the abdomen. In rarer cases, it is possible your baby may not have testicles at all—but that can be determined quickly with scanning equipment.

What Happens Next?

Assuming your baby’s testicles are simply undescended, most doctors will adopt a wait and see approach. Usually, his testicles will drop to where they should by 6 months of age, with no treatment necessary at all.

If this doesn’t happen naturally, surgery may be required. While that can be a scary thing for any parent to face, it is necessary. Undescended testicles that don’t drop and aren’t treated can lead to male factor infertility and an increased risk of certain cancers and injury.

Surgery involves a small cut made in the groin, where the testicles can then be physically repositioned in the scrotum. Your little one will typically recover completely within a week.

While this can be a scary thing to face, your baby is going to be just fine! And years from now, this will be just a blip on the radar from your memories of those early baby months.

Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.