What Does It Mean When One Testicle Is Larger than the Other?
There is probably nothing more precious to a man than his family jewels. The natural instinct is to always protect them. It is no surprise, therefore, that when one testicle is larger than the other, there is cause for concern.
Size is often an indicator of a condition affecting them. Let's take a look at what the size of your testicles could mean.
So, Why Is One Testicle Larger than the Other?
The fact that one of your balls appears bigger than its partner does not always signal a problem. There are conditions that are harmless while others that require medical attention.
1. Harmless Conditions
- Normal condition
Sometimes it is the normal appearance of the testicles. Actually, if you pay close attention, you will often find that the right one is usually larger than the left one. The left one, on the other hand, often hangs lower, and this is perfectly normal. Barring any pain or discomfort, you should rest assured that you're fine.
- Epididymal Cyst
This is a sack of fluid that can grow on top of the testis. You might not even notice it because it is not painful or uncomfortable. As it grows larger, however, you might notice one testicle is bigger than the other. There are also cases where both tests have cysts. Epididymal cysts are not cancerous; therefore, you could live with one without any fuss.
- A Varicocele
Sometimes one of your testicles appears larger because the veins within have become enlarged. As much as this sounds dangerous, it is quite the opposite. The only drawback to this condition is that your sperm count might be at the low end of the scale.
2. Conditions that Require Medical Assistance
In other instances, you should not rest on your haunches when one of your balls appears bigger than the other one. There are a number of medical conditions you could be suffering from. They range in severity and have some similar symptoms:
If you remember your high school biology, you will remember the coiled tube hugging the back of your testes. This is the epididymis. When it gets inflamed, the condition is known as epididymitis and affects males of any age. It is caused by a bacterial infection which is usually in the form of gonorrhea or chlamydia – in other words, sexually transmitted diseases.
This condition causes your testicles to be red, swollen, and tender to the touch, and you may feel a lot of pain in the lower abdomen area. You will notice a frequent need to urinate, and it hurts when you do. You also ejaculate bloody semen.
This is an infection that affects the testicles themselves. It is brought on by the same virus that causes mumps, and sexually transmitted infections can also be at play here. With this condition, one testicle is bigger than the other due to inflammation, and in certain cases, both tests can swell up. Other symptoms of orchitis include mild-to-severe pain in the testicles and a scrotum that is tender to the touch. You usually feel feverish and experience nausea and vomiting as well.
- Testicular Torsion
This is definitely as bad as it sounds. Normally, the testicles rotate and swing freely at the end of the spermatic cord. When this rotation goes too far, the spermatic cord is twisted – a condition known as torsion. This twisting cuts off blood supply to the testicle in question. It also prevents blood from circulating properly. The end result is the affected testicle will swell up. Torsion is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention in order to restore blood supply to the testicle. Extreme pain is frequent with testicular torsion. The pain might be intermittent if the condition is the result of an impact injury.
- Testicular Cancer
Cancer of the testicles is a good reason why one testicle is bigger than the other. When malignant cells in your testes multiply, they form bumps that continue to grow. This makes the tests appear larger. A large number of these growths originate within the testes in the area where sperm is produced. Seminoma tumors grow slowly whereas non-seminoma tumors grow aggressively and spread much faster than seminoma tumors.
This type of cancer is common in young men between 20 to 35 years of age. Symptoms include lumps on the testis, a dull ache in the lower abdomen and groin, and a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
How to Check Your Own Testicles
Seeing as the testicles are your future, you should take proper care of them. You should be able to check and see if anything is out of the ordinary.
Here are a few ways you can determine that everything is in tip-top shape down there:
In self-examination, you feel your testes through your scrotum. Medical professionals are big advocates of this method because when you do it regularly, you become familiar with what your testicles feel like. That way, if there are any changes, you are quick to notice.
Take a warm shower so your scrotum can sag low, enabling you to feel the testes easily. Take each one into your hands and gently feel it for any bumps on the surface. A slight bump along the back surface is normal; that is actually the coiled epididymis.
2. Penile Discharge
For men, strange discharges from the urethra are not particularly normal. When you observe any abnormal discharge, you need to get yourself tested because it is most likely a sign of a sexually transmitted disease. As we have seen earlier, STDs can cause testicular afflictions. Detecting the STDs early is a good way to safeguard your genitals.
It All Boils Down to This
In many of the cases, it is perfectly normal when one testicle is larger than the other. However, there are plenty of conditions that can also bring this about. Many of them are totally harmless, and you can live differently sized testicles throughout your life. However, there are a handful of cases that require medical attention. You should examine your own testicles regularly and seek medical advice when all is not well.