The male sexual glands are the testes, and they produce sperm and hormones for sexual reproduction. The testes typically reside in the scrotum, occasionally one or both testes may not descend into the scrotum after developing, which means that when the testis is outside its normal location in the scrotal sac, it is called an undescended testis. This condition normally occurs before birth.
What causes a child to have undescended testes?
Early-born infants are more likely to have undescended testes (preterm or premature babies). This is due to the fact that the testes do not descend into the scrotal sac until month 7 of a baby’s development in the uterus. Other factors contributing to undescended testes could be spina bifida or hormonal issues.
Testicles may shift up and down from the scrotum back into the groin as a reflex, which could be the root of the problem (retractile testes). The testicles can sometimes be absent. Rarely, a child who has had an inguinal hernia repaired may experience undescended testes.
Which children are most likely to have undescended testes?
An estimated 3 in 100 to 1 in 20 male infants are born with this disease.
A child is more vulnerable if:
- Born before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Tiny for the gestational age
- With low birth weight
- Has a family member suffered from the condition
What are the different categories of undescended testes?
Congenital and acquired undescended testes are two different categories.
Congenitally undescended testes:
- Congenitally undescended testes are present in newborns who are born without scrotal testes.
- Most of the time, doctors are unable to identify the cause; however, some hormone and genetic problems can result in undescended testes.
- The testes might not have had enough time to descend into the scrotum by the time premature babies are born.
Acquired undescended testes:
- Sometimes a child’s testicles are in the scrotum when they are born, but they later grow undescended testes.
- The spermatic cord stops expanding at the same rate that the kid does. It becomes too short in the end and forces the testis back into the groin.
- Between the ages of one and ten, this can occur.
What signs would a child have of undescended testes?
Each youngster may exhibit somewhat different symptoms. The most typical symptom is when a doctor performing an examination cannot feel the testes. Most kids who have an undescended testicle don’t exhibit any symptoms.
How are children’s undescended testes identified?
The doctor will inquire about your child’s symptoms and medical background. He or she might also inquire about the medical history of your family. Every time your child receives a well-child checkup, the healthcare expert will look for testicles in the scrotum. To locate the testicles within the pelvis, imaging procedures like an MRI or an ultrasound may occasionally be required.
When to visit a doctor
Your maternal and child health nurse or your doctor will notice if your child has undescended testes shortly after birth. The health of your infant will be monitored.
Consult your doctor if one or both of your baby’s testicles disappear from the scrotum after they were present there at birth. You’ll be given a paediatrician or paediatric surgeon’s contact information to consult, as the testes must be brought all the way down to the scrotum.
There is a risk of ongoing health issues, as below, if the testes do not come down:
- Torsion – It is possible for the spermatic cord to twist, which can stop the blood flow to the testes.
- Inguinal Hernia – when a bowel loop enters the scrotum.
- Reduced fertility – The production of sperm in the testes may be impacted by the fact that the body temperature in the abdomen is higher than in the scrotum.
- Risk of testicular cancer This only occurs in a small percentage of boys. Typically, the risk is less than 1 in 100.
- Poor self-esteem due to having genital features that are unusual.
How are children with undescended testes treated?
Your child’s symptoms, age, and overall health will all affect the course of treatment. Furthermore, it will depend on how serious the problem is. By the age of three months, the testes frequently fall into the scrotum on their own. The testicles often pass naturally by the time a child is 6 months old.
Other situations might call for treatment. This might comprise:
- Surgery: Surgery may be used to transfer the undescended testicle into the scrotal sac. Orchiopexy is the name of this procedure. usually between the ages of 6 and 18 months. For most kids, it works.
- Hormone treatment: The body may produce testosterone in response to some hormones. The testes are assisted in entering the scrotal sac by this. Only certain circumstances call for this treatment. Speak with your child’s medical professionals about the advantages, disadvantages, and potential adverse effects of each medication.
Find out what kind of treatment is recommended for your child by speaking with their healthcare professional.
Follow-up after the treatment of undescended testes
After the procedure, your child’s surgeon will schedule a visit with them. To ensure the testicle stays in the scrotum, routine inspections may be required. When they reach adolescence, your child will need to learn how to perform a routine testicular self-examination.
If you have any more questions about undescended testes, you are always welcome to get an appointment with Dr. Prashant Jain, one of the finest young and dynamic pediatric surgeon and pediatric urologist in Delhi.