Hidden balls


Dear Dr G,  

I am a 29-year-old healthy guy who faces a little "mystery" in my life.  

I recently discovered that I experienced the retraction of my testicles when I engage in sexual activities, including masturbation. I only realised such peculiarity in recent months.  

Don’t get me wrong, most of the time, my testicles are located in their rightful place of the sac like any other guys.  

However, I only noticed the retraction of my balls when I get into sex or masturbation. On some instances, they are hidden in the groin.  

I know I have emailed you twice and eager to put Dr G on the spot on the "mystery" of my hidden balls.  

Is it normal for a 29-year-old sexually active man to have retractile testicles, especially upon ejaculation?  

What exactly are the causes for the missing retractile and can anything be done to rectify the issue?  

I also feel that I have low desire for sex in recent months, and depleted of secretion prior to ejaculation. Are they related?  

Should I have a complete check with a doctor?  

Thanks.  

Regards,

Mr J


The absence of one or both of the testicles from the scrotal sac is called cryptorchidism.  

The word “crypto” is derived from the Greek word “krytptos” meaning “hidden” and the word “orchis” is referring to the testicles.  

Cryptorchidism mostly affects pediatric population, as 3% of full-term and 30% of premature male infants are presented with at least one hidden testicle.  

This represents around 1% of all male population. Although cryptorchidism affects boys during infancy, the condition may also present in young adulthood.  

The diagnostic challenge for clinicians in diagnosing the hidden manhood is generally differentiating retractile and undescended testicles. Retractile testicles are far more common than undescended testes.  

In fact, it is normal for males to have “swinging balls” as the cremasteric muscles, which orchestrate the movement of the testicles, can frequently contract and relax in response to temperature or state of arousal.  

The true evolution purpose of such cremasteric reflex is unknown, however, one would imagine it’s role of temperature regulation in the scrotal sac.  

In normal male infants and younger boys, the cremasteric reflex is easily demonstrable. Such reflex is elicited by lightly stroking the superficial or inner part of the thigh.  

Regardless of the direction of stroke, the immediate contraction of the muscle is initiated, resulting in the uplifting effect of the balls on the same side of the body.  

As the boy ages beyond puberty, such reflex is less pronounce. The diminishing “swinging balls” effects in adults may be due to heavier balls, being less responsive to the cremasteric pull.  

The upward lifting of the testicles by the cremasteric muscles during sexual arousal, and prior to ejaculation is also well recognised.  

In most instances, the retractions are subtle and completely unnoticeable.  

The retraction of the testicles to the extent of “missing balls” is exceptionally rare, but not impossible.  

For a man with short spermatic cord, which does not keep pace with bodily growth, such condition may result in high-riding testicles. This may adversely affect its hormonal and fertility function.  

The constant retraction of the testicle during arousal and prior to ejaculation poses no immediate threat to men’s sexual functions.  

In theory, the high-riding testicle is pulling the balls closer to the body, impairing the testosterone production. This in turn alters the appetite for sex and diminish the secretions prior to ejaculations.  

The famous German philosopher and scholar Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “In every real man, a child is hidden that wants to play.”   

Although Dr G is rarely put on the spot to solve the "mystery" of the hidden balls in adulthood, he is somewhat concern with the potential risk of the high-riding balls, preventing J from functioning as a real man.  

His advice for men facing the conundrum of the retractile testicles in adulthood is: “A pair of testicles that wants to play should not be hidden!”  

Hence, it is a good idea to seek medical opinion and get the issue of the hidden balls solved!

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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Dr George Lee

Dr George Lee

Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at askdrg@thestar.com.my

   

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