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Testicular atrophy happens when one or both testicles are visibly reduced in size, which can happen mainly due to varicocele, which is a situation in which there is dilatation of the testicle veins, in addition to being a consequence of a orchitis or sexually transmitted infection (STI).
For the diagnosis of this condition to be made, the urologist may indicate laboratory and imaging tests to identify what is causing the atrophy, and from there, indicate the most appropriate treatment, which may be antibiotics, hormone replacement and even surgery in cases of sprain or cancer, for example.
The main cause of testicular atrophy is varicocele, which is the dilatation of the veins of the testicles, which leads to the accumulation of blood and the emergence of symptoms such as pain, heaviness and swelling at the site. Understand better what varicocele is and how to treat it.
In addition, it is also possible that atrophy arises from less common situations such as orchitis caused by mumps, twisted testicle due to accidents or blows, inflammation, STI's and even testicular cancer. In rare cases, due to abuse of alcohol, drugs or use of anabolic steroids, testicular atrophy is likely to occur, due to the hormonal changes that these substances cause in the body.
The main symptom of testicular atrophy is a visible reduction in the size of one or both testicles, but other symptoms may be present, such as:
- Libido reduction;
- Decrease in muscle mass;
- Loss and reduced growth of body hair;
- Heaviness in the testicles;
- Testicles with altered consistency;
When the cause of atrophy is inflammation, infection or torsion, it is possible that symptoms such as pain, excess tenderness and nausea may be reported. Thus, if testicular atrophy is suspected, a urologist should be consulted, because when not treated properly, this condition can lead to sterility and even organ loss.
How to confirm the diagnosis
To confirm what is causing the atrophy, the urologist may perform an evaluation of the testicles observing their size, firmness and texture, in addition to asking questions to better investigate possible causes.
In addition, laboratory tests such as complete blood count may be indicated in order to identify a viral or bacterial infection, STI tests, testosterone measurement and imaging tests to verify blood flow, if there is torsion, cyst or the possibility of testicular cancer.
How the treatment is done
Treatment for testicular atrophy should be indicated by the urologist according to the cause, and the use of medications that promote symptom relief and return the testicles to normal may be indicated. However, in some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary.
When testicular atrophy is caused by testicular cancer, surgery may also be indicated to remove the tumor, in addition to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment when necessary.
In addition, if testicular atrophy is found to be a consequence of torsion in the testicle, it is important that the surgery is performed as soon as possible to avoid necrosis of the region and infertility.