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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Balls dropping into the sack is meant to happen by the age of 3.

(35 Posts)
starshaker Fri 04-Oct-13 08:18:25

I just thought i would post this since i didn't know until the health visitor told me.

I took DS to the doctors and he said bring him back when hes 3. I took him back and they were still not descended (although the doc could feel and move them). He was referred to the pediatric surgeon and his appointment is today so we will find out if he needs surgery.

I just though, since I didn't know and people i tell don't know that i should let you guys know. When i tell people they say "oh i thought that happened in puberty" and thats not the case. The doctor has said that if its left it can cause infertility.

MrsCharlesBrandon Fri 25-Oct-13 18:35:35

Shocking check with your GP. If they are not spending enough time in the scrotum then it won't stretch enough to accommodate them as he grows.

I just had a response from our Dr regarding DS's retractile Testicles, she says the hosp policy is to keep a close eye on them until puberty, and if they are still yoyo-ing then they will put in a stitch to hold them in place.

Not sure how you keep an eye on the balls of an 11+ year old! grin

Shockingundercrackers Fri 25-Oct-13 14:19:15

Is anyone still on this thread? I'm really glad I found it anyway... Just been to see a consultant about DS1's missing testicles (he's nearly 4) and was told that they are retractile and that this is perfectly normal. I'm still worried about him though... His boy bits definitely don't look like other boys' and I'm concerned about what he's going to make of the when he works that out...

OP, what happened with your consultation?

sallysparrow157 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:33:29

Undescended testicles are testicles that have never made their way all the way to the scrotum (in the foetus they start out in a similar place to the ovaries and gradually make their way down). Generally a testicle which is going to make its own way down will have done so by term but there is an occasional one which makes its own way down by 1 yr of age. Undescended testicles are inside the body so you can't feel them at all
Retractile testicles are testicles which have made their way down to the scrotum but sometimes like to sit tugged up against the body. They are most likely to do this in someone cold or stressed but the testicle can be felt if you know where to look

Undescended testicles do need to be found and moved down to the scrotum for three reasons. Firstly, testicular cancer, not so much that there is a hugely increased risk, more that it is a relatively common but very curable cancer if found early (ie by feeling a lump on yourtesticle) but if you can't feel the testicle by the time the cancer shows any symptoms it will have spread so cure is less likely. Secondly, fertility, testicles live in e scrotum because being cool is good for sperm, a testis inside the body will be too warm to produce good sperm. Thirdly, cosmetic reasons, without a testicle in it the scrotum won't look the same as everyone else's.

Retractile testes are nothing to worry about and generally spend less and less time up against the body as a boy gets older.

Testicles are checked for as part of the newborn check. If they are there then, there is no need to look for them again as they can't become undescended (though they can become retractile). If they aren't there then, the person doing the check should tell you to go to your gp if you've not noticed them by 1 yr of age.

If you're worried that your son has undescended testicles the best thing to do is see if you (or he, depending on his age) can find them when he is relaxed in a warm bath. You're actually more likely to find them doing this than by going to the gp because stripping off in a cold room in front of a stranger is likely to make retractile testes very retractile! If you can't find them, go to the gp who will know the right place to look, if the gp can't find them they can refer you to a paeds surgeon who is very good at knowing exactly where to look and if all else fails can do an ultrasound scan which will show exactly where they are

5madthings Mon 07-Oct-13 20:09:09

They are checked at the 6wk check and my boys were checked when they were toddler as well, like a preschool check? But may e it depends on the area and your gp?

MrsCharlesBrandon Mon 07-Oct-13 20:03:00

Thank you show , It's sometimes so difficult to tell inflection on here! grin

I'm taking DS to see our Dr on Friday, to put my mind at rest more than anything else.

He's spent all weekend telling me his sac is empty, i suspect it's just an excuse for him to have his hands in his pants!

MaeMobley Sat 05-Oct-13 09:50:09

Show, which site is that? my DS is 10 now and his testicles are still not descended. In his case, according to the paediatrician, he has a very strong muscles keeping them up. The doctor assured me this would not affect his fertility but I still worry.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Sat 05-Oct-13 09:41:25

I've googled for you and found this:

"90% of retractile testicles will descend and relax into the scrotum during puberty. Until that time, regular testicular exams are important to monitor for abnormalities"

Same site says your son should be taught to do his own testicle examinations and to know what's normal for him but not until he's a bit older than now. It also said he should be monitored by a doctor to be on the safe side but stresses that it is normal. They do sometimes stitch them down to prevent torsion.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Sat 05-Oct-13 09:36:11

Oh no I wasn't implying sarcasm or anything of the sort. I was trying to work out what you meant by your post. I wasn't sure if you were asking if the op's ds's were descended at birth. Not sure what you mean about sarcasm. I just hasn't understood your post and who you were referring to in your first sentence. Now you've clarified, I see you mean your own ds.

MrsCharlesBrandon Fri 04-Oct-13 22:09:54

Show I was asking a question, not being sarcastic.

I'm now rather concerned about DS but as Llareggub says his sac is wrinkly so they're definitely there sometimes. His red book says they were down at birth.

If they are there sometimes when should we expect them to be down permanently?

KFFOREVER Fri 04-Oct-13 12:47:16

Thank you for your post op. I had no idea about this. Its odd no health professional has discussed this with us. Will speak to dh may be he knows more about this than i do.

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 04-Oct-13 12:27:30

It is checked at birth though, if you look in the red book you will see it on the check list.

Yes, but if it isn't descended at that point, it doesn't get re-examined unless the parent raises the issue again.

DS1 was only 11 months when he had the op on his undescended testicle, but I think it was because the other was down and had been for a while that they didn't bother waiting. It was pretty high up in his body iirc (14 years ago!) It turned out that my FIL had had the same issue as a child but hadn't had it operated on until he was in his 20's (when he came to the UK actually) Men who have had this problem also have a marginally higher chance of getting testicular cancer - less than if they didn't have the operation, but slightly more than normal, so as soon as they hit their teens and puberty they should check themselves for odd bumps and lumps.

The operation was fine though. I think I got more upset about it than DS1 did. Tiny keyhole incisions and very little post-op issues, mainly grumpiness from the GA smile

AmberLeaf Fri 04-Oct-13 11:15:03

Good luck at your appt OP.

It is checked at birth though, if you look in the red book you will see it on the check list.

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 04-Oct-13 11:07:53

Blimey, Show, I absolutely agree with you. And Star too. I had no idea that DS had an issue. If he hadn't been having a checkup for bedwetting issues aged 8, then the undescended testicle conversation would never had happened until what? (Maybe a GF would have wondered about it?)

Quangle Fri 04-Oct-13 11:03:58

very useful to me (single mum). Thank you for posting. Any other info gratefully received!

starshaker Fri 04-Oct-13 10:59:09

I didnt have a partner to even talk about it with. Thats why i started this thread. Im sure there are plenty mother of boys who dont know a huge amount about boy bits.

I will post what the consultant tells me today after the appointment

ShowOfBloodyStumps Fri 04-Oct-13 10:55:07

Oh no Marjorie, I agree. Like I said, I started a thread myself because it's all just a bit vague. I think being a woman you have bog all awareness of the common garden testicle and its daily behaviours. I only realised in retrospect that it was a problem that could happen and perhaps I should have been aware of it. And only then because dh has Problematical Testicles and mentioned something about them descending in passing one day. I mean we're all aware of checking fontanelles and similar but testicles just aren't chatted about. I think it should be mentioned a little more. I mean up until having ds I just thought of testicles as weird little Kinder Egg inners suspended in a half skinned rabbit and tried not to look directly at them wherever possible (thankfully just dh's, though I am aware it sounds like I'm often confronted with random scrotums). It's only since having ds that I'm aware of the problems they can present.

notso Fri 04-Oct-13 10:50:52

DS2's missing testicle was picked up at his post birth paediatric check. He has it reviewed at 6 weeks then at 8 months, an ultrasound at 12 months and 22 months then an operation to stitch it down at 2.2 years.

Llareggub Fri 04-Oct-13 10:40:39

My DS saw a consultant last year for this issue . He was 3 .5 ish at the time. This is what I learned:

1) his sack was wrinkly which was evidence that they are there occasionally - just not permanently.
2) it's common and should resolve itself
3) my other son (aged 5) told me that he was an expert in finding balls and he and his brother often look for them
4) I should go back if the situation didn't resolve itself - both balls were detected by the consultant

We've moved now and it does cross my mind that maybe it is time for a second opinion.

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 04-Oct-13 10:34:38

I'm sure you're right, Show, but I think if it's your first or only boy you might not realise that the lack of an "OK, all is as it should be" means that you should keep asking for more checkups.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Fri 04-Oct-13 10:26:52

Marjorie, it's in ds's red book that his testicles were checked at birth (or the next day I think) and again at 6 weeks. Presumably, they don't check again unless there is a problem noted. Certainly at things like the 1yr and 2yr check it hasn't been looked at.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Fri 04-Oct-13 10:24:15

MrsCharlesBrandon, the op doesn't say they were there at birth does she?

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 04-Oct-13 10:22:46

Good post, OP. DS was at the end of Y4 (ie aged 8-9) when he had surgery for this. We had only realised it was an issue in the preceding few months when he was seen by a consultant for an enuresis issue and I mentioned an empty sac on one side. My experience is that there was no routine checking for undescended testicles during the early years checkups.

MrsCharlesBrandon Fri 04-Oct-13 10:08:29

If they were there at birth then they're not technically undescended are they?

DS still has days when they're not in the sac, but more frequently now they are down. I was just told to keep and eye and go back if i was worried! confused

AuntieStella Fri 04-Oct-13 10:05:59

NHS page on undescended testicles.

It's fairly common and usually resolves spontaneously in the first 6 months. If it doesn't then it needs monitoring and possibly treatment, and that NHs page recommends treatment by age 2 as future fertility won't be affected if dealt with by then.

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