Testicular atrophy is the medical term used to refer to reduced testicles. The testicles are organs included in the male reproductive system and are contained in a kind of pocket which bears the name of scrotum. The testicles regulate the production of sperm and that of male sex hormones. The reduction in size of one or both testicles depends on the severity and duration of the atrophy. This disorder can be caused by different factors, these include hormonal imbalances and the use of certain medications.
What are the causes and symptoms of testicular atrophy?
The testicles contain two types of cells, the latter regulating the functioning of these organs: these are germ cells and Leydig cells. Germ cells regulate sperm production and Leydig cells regulate the production of testosterone, the male sex hormone. The body produces these two types of cells in equal numbers during testicular development. The testicles take on a rounded shape and also become firm and full thanks to these cells. The amount of fluid in the testicles can decrease if the number of either of these two cell types is reduced. This change causes the reduction in the size of the testicles. The following factors can cause testicular atrophy:
Hormonal imbalance: This disorder is the most common cause of testicular atrophy. These imbalances can be caused by the use of certain medications, exposure to radiation, or regular use of steroids. In the event of a hormonal imbalance, the body reacts as if it had sufficient sex hormone levels, which therefore limits the activity of the testicles and causes them to shrink. It is usually possible to fix this problem by interrupting the treatment that caused it, this of course depends on the seriousness of this disorder.
Disease: The mumps virus and HIV can cause testicular atrophy. This problem can be solved by effectively treating these conditions but this obviously depends on the severity of the atrophy.
Alcoholism: Chronic alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis of the liver, this disease also affects the testicles and can reduce their size.
Age: Testicular atrophy can be a natural consequence of aging and frequently affects men who are no longer of childbearing age.
Symptoms of testicular atrophy include:
– Pain in the testicles – Sterility – Sexual disorders – Decreased libido
Establish the diagnosis of testicular atrophy
If testicular atrophy is suspected, the first consultation will allow the doctor to find out about the external factors that can cause this type of disorder, such as the use of steroids or certain medications. He will also ask the patient about his lifestyle and his sexual past because sexually transmitted infections can also cause this type of condition. He will then perform a physical examination to directly feel the testicles and check for any changes that may affect the size, texture and firmness of these organs. The doctor will also examine the external genitalia to look for other visible signs. Other tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis of testicular atrophy, these include:
– An ultrasound of the testicles which makes it possible to check the quality of the blood circulation and to identify other abnormalities. – A blood test to detect signs of infection – A hormone test to detect hormonal imbalances
Treatment of testicular atrophy
The doctor will prescribe the most effective treatment depending on the causes of testicular atrophy. If this condition is due to a sexually transmitted infection, treatment for this condition will usually treat testicular atrophy.
In most cases, testicular atrophy can be treated when treated quickly and effectively. However, this condition can worsen and cause irreversible damage if left untreated for a long time. It is usually necessary to resort to surgery in order to treat certain health problems that frequently affect young men, such as testicular torsion. The doctor can also prescribe hormone replacement therapy and recommend that the patient change his lifestyle and practice regular physical activity.