Cause and natural treatment for testicular atrophy
Testicular atrophy is a pathology that results in a reduced size of the testicles compared to normal. Atrophy of the testes can reduce or even stop their normal functioning and lead to fertility problems, sometimes even sterility ... A hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of testicular atrophy which can be linked to the regular intake of certain drugs such as steroids and exposure to radiation or regular use of steroids. On the other hand, the mumps virus and HIV can cause testicular atrophy. Chronic infections or lesions of the testicle such as orchitis or epididymitis, toxic causes such as chronic alcoholism or certain drugs, chronic anemia, or testicular cancer. Taking anabolics is also a common and recognized cause of testicular atrophy.
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There are different factors that can cause testicular atrophy. Here are the most common.
Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicles. Its main symptoms are a painful sensation and swelling of the testicles, but it can also cause nausea and fever. Although swelling may initially appear like your testicles are larger, orchitis will eventually lead to testicular atrophy.
There are two main types of orchitis:
- viral orchitis. It is usually caused by the mumps virus. About a third of men with mumps after puberty will develop viral orchitis. This often happens within four to seven days of the onset of mumps.
- bacterial orchitis. This type of orchitis is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (or STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. In some cases, it is caused by a urinary tract infection or by the insertion of a catheter or other medical device into your penis.
Other possible causes
In addition to orchitis, several other factors can cause testicular atrophy, including:
Women go through menopause, some men go through a similar process called andropause. This causes low levels of testosterone, which can lead to testicular atrophy.
A varicocele is like a varicose vein, but located near the testicles instead of the legs. Varicoceles usually affect the left testis and can damage the sperm-producing tubes in the testes. This can make the affected testicle smaller.
This happens when a testicle turns and twists the spermatic cord that carries blood to the scrotum. Reduced blood flow can cause pain and swelling in the testicles. If left untreated within hours, it can cause permanent testicular atrophy.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Some men on TRT have testicular atrophy. TRT can stop the production of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). Without GnRH, the pituitary gland stops producing luteinizing hormone (LH). And without LH, the testes stop secreting testosterone, leading to smaller testes.
Taking anabolic steroids or estrogens
Taking anabolic steroids or estrogen supplements can have the same effect on hormones as TRT.
Alcohol can cause both low testosterone and testicular tissue damage, which can lead to testicular atrophy.
Often the most obvious symptom of testicular atrophy is the noticeable contraction of one or both testicles. However, depending on your age and your underlying conditions, you may notice some additional symptoms.
Those who have not yet gone through puberty may notice:
- larger penis size
- absence of facial or pubic hair
If testicular atrophy occurs after puberty, other symptoms may include:
- soft testicles
- less libido
- reduced muscle mass
- reduction of facial or pubic hair
If an underlying medical condition causes testicular atrophy, you may experience:
- pain in the testicles
Normally, your doctor or urologist will start asking you about your lifestyle and medical history. He will also ask you about the medicines you are taking. It is likely that your urologist will perform a physical examination of the testicles with the following qualities:
Finally, he will perform additional tests to help determine the cause of testicular atrophy. Possible tests include:
- an ultrasound of the testicles to observe abnormalities and blood flow
- blood tests for signs of infection
- swabs or urine tests to detect sexually transmitted infections
- hormone level tests
The testes are mainly made up of two types of cells: Sertoli cells are involved in the production of sperm and Leydig cells produce testosterone. Healthy men are characterized by producing roughly equal amounts of these two types of cells and, therefore, the testes tend to be round and strong. One or both types of cells tend to die during atrophy.
Testicular atrophy can be very serious, but it depends a lot on what's going on at the cellular level. If it has been affected by Sertoli cells, there is a risk of infertility.
If Leydig cells are affected, it can lead to erectile dysfunction and loss of sexual desire. Patients may also experience loss of muscle and bone mass, weight gain and mood swings.
Treatment for testicular atrophy depends on the underlying cause. Possible treatments include:
- Antibiotics against infections.
- Lifestyle changes.
- Hormone therapy.
- Surgery, especially testicular torsion
If you find out that you have testicular atrophy in time and get treatment as soon as possible, the percentage of reversal of the contraction will increase. Remember that certain conditions, such as testicular torsion, require immediate treatment to avoid permanent damage to the testicle.