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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Testicular Atrophy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

  • Published on August 10, 2022
Testicular Atrophy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Did you know? Testicular atrophy is the condition where the male reproductive glands – the testicles – shrink beyond the normal variations in size.

The testicles play a critical role in sperm production, requiring a specific temperature range for optimal function. Let’s unfold the details about what testicular atrophy is, its causes and symptoms along with potential treatments to fix the condition for improving fertility health.

What is Testicular Atrophy?

Testicular atrophy, the shrinkage of the testicles, can occur in males of all ages, whether or not they have attained puberty. Typically, in adults, this condition can result in infertility causing low sperm count and lower testosterone levels.

What are the Causes of Testicular Atrophy?

A few causes that can lead to testicular atrophy are:

  • Age and Andropause:

Similar to menopause in women, some males experience “Andropause” with a decline in testosterone levels, potentially leading to testicular atrophy.

  • Testicular Torsion:

A twist in the spermatic cord, reduces blood supply to the testicles, causing pain and inflammation that may result in permanent testicular atrophy if untreated.

  • Varicoceles:

Varicoceles, similar to varicose veins, can affect the left testicle and damage sperm tubes, leading to testicular shrinkage.

  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT):

TRT suppresses hormone production, impacting testosterone levels and potentially causing testicular shrinkage due to reduced hormone stimulation.

  • Alcohol Abuse:

Excessive alcohol consumption damages testicular tissue and lowers testosterone levels, contributing to testicular atrophy.

  • Use of Estrogen or Anabolic Steroids:

Consumption of estrogen or anabolic steroids disrupts hormone balance, potentially leading to testicular shrinkage.

  • Orchitis:

Viral or bacterial infections like mumps or gonorrhoea can cause orchitis, leading to testicular swelling and potential atrophy if left untreated.

What are the Symptoms of Testicular Atrophy?

The tell-tale sign of testicular atrophy is the shrinking of testicles. Additional symptoms may vary depending on how old you are:

  • Testicular Atrophy Symptoms, if you haven’t attained puberty yet:
  1. Absence of facial and pubic hair – the secondary characteristics of sex
  2. Penis size that is larger than normal
  • Testicular Atrophy Symptoms, if you have attained puberty
  1. Reduced sex drive
  2. Reduced muscle mass
  3. Reduction in the growth of pubic hair/absence of pubic hair growth
  4. Soft testicles
  5. Infertility
  • Testicular Atrophy Symptoms, if you have an underlying medical condition
  1. High body temperature
  2. Pain in testicle
  3. Inflammation

How to Diagnose Testicular Atrophy?

The diagnosis of testicular atrophy begins with the doctor asking certain personal but necessary questions. To rule out the possibility of alcohol abuse and sexually transmitted diseases as the potential causes, they may ask you to elaborate on your lifestyle and sexual practices(if necessary).

Later, the doctor would run a physical examination to determine the testicle condition and to check:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Texture
  • Firmness
  • Size

In addition to detecting the root cause of the condition the doctor may prescribe further diagnostics:

  • Complete blood count
  • Testicular ultrasound
  • Testosterone level test

What are the  Testicular Atrophy Treatment options?

Based on the results of your diagnosis the doctor will determine the type of treatment to correct testicular atrophy. It is generally irreversible, but early detection and appropriate treatment can reduce its effects and improve outcomes. Some of the treatment options are:

  • Antibiotics: Treatment for sexually transmitted diseases often involves a course of antibiotics to address the infection.
  • Lifestyle Modification: Addressing alcohol abuse through lifestyle changes can aid in managing symptoms.
  • Surgery: Testicular torsion requires surgical intervention to correct the twisted cord and restore blood flow to the testicle.

Conclusion

Testicular atrophy can be a permanent issue, but if you detect it in the early stages and get the right treatment, you can improve your symptoms and overall fertility health. If you suspect any symptoms of testicular atrophy or facing issues with infertility, consult our fertility specialist today. They will guide you and assist you with the most suitable fertility treatment to overcome the infertility condition.

Written by:
Dr. Madhulika Sharma

Dr. Madhulika Sharma

Consultant
Dr. Madhulika Sharma is an esteemed Fertility Specialist with more than 16 years of clinical experience. She is renowned for her exceptional expertise and compassionate approach to helping aspiring parents navigate their fertility journey. With over a decade of experience in reproductive medicine, she specializes in cutting-edge IVF techniques and individualized treatment plans tailored to each couple's unique needs. Her commitment to patient care is evident in her warm, empathetic demeanor and the personalized attention she gives to every case. She is a member of the following societies European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Indian Fertility Society and Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction.
Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

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