Most people who read this article will have testicles. Whether you have one, two or even three (if you have polyorchidism), you need to know a fair amount about them. They’re important.
So, we’ve put together this guide to your plums, nuts, knackers, family jewels, bollocks, two veg or whatever it is that you call them. Take a look and learn about how to make sure they are in good working order.
The look and feel of your testicles
When you check your testicles, which is essential by the way, they should feel smooth through your scrotum. Healthy testicles are firm, but not hard. And you can often feel the cord at the back of them, so don’t panic – it’s meant to be there!
Looks-wise, your balls will be generally a similar size, but it is not unusual if one is slightly bigger than the other.
Everyone’s are different, so it is important to know what is ‘normal’ for you. That way, you can tell if there is something different or unusual about them. If there is, go and see your GP.
How often you should check your balls
There is no set frequency to check your bollocks. But you should give them a look over and a feel every so often. It’s a good idea to do so in a warm bath or the shower because it relaxes the scrotum and makes it easier to get a good feel of the testicle itself.
What to check for
You should check for any differences in the appearance or feel of your testicles. This includes the size and weight, as well as lumps, swelling or pain.
Talk to your GP if you find:
- a lump or swelling in part of one testicle
- any difference between one testicle and the other that hasn’t been there before
- a sharp pain in the testicle or scrotum
- a heavy scrotum
- an increase in the firmness of one or both balls
What causes lumps?
Look, the elephant in the room here is testicular cancer, right? Yes, a lump can mean that is the outcome. But it can also be one of many other things. So, don’t panic. Your doctor is the person to see. They will be able to find out exactly what the lump, pain or swelling means. Please, if you have any concerns, get an appointment right away.
Here are some of the other things it could be:
- epididymal cyst – fluid collecting around the cord that comes out the back of the balls. It’s really called the epididymis, by the way
- epididymitis – when you get a chlamydia infection in the epididymis. You’ll get inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the sack. Some men will get a hard, red scrotum
- varicocele – enlarged veins
- hydrocele – fluid around your testicles causes swelling
- torsion – painful swelling when you twist your testicle. You need to get this sorted straight away, by the way. Head to the doctors or A&E and tell them it is an emergency.
In any of these cases, visit your GP and they will help get you sorted. Don’t be worried or embarrassed. They deal with this stuff all the time. It’s their job.