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What Is the Scrotum?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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The scrotum is part of the male genitals, found behind the penis. It is a small pouch that holds the testicles, a pair of round glands that make, hold, and expel sperm and male hormones. The scrotum’s texture can vary depending on its temperature and can range from thin and loose or more firm and muscular. Drastic changes in texture can be a sign of male genital disorders, ranging from benign masses to cancer.

While a male fetus is forming in the womb, his testicles first start to develop inside his abdomen. As he becomes more formed, the testicles are supposed to drop down from the abdomen and settle into the scrotum. In some males, one or both of the testicles may remain inside of the abdomen at birth, particularly if the baby was born prematurely. The testicles may eventually drop down without treatment and not cause any health problems; however, if they do not, it can prevent the male from being able to impregnate a woman because the testicles cannot properly produce and expel sperm.

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One of the most important responsibilities of the scrotum is to protect the testicles and sperm by keeping them at a proper temperature. For the healthiest sperm, the testicles need to be kept at a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the body to preserve the sperm and ensure it stays alive. If sperm is exposed to high heat, it can cause damage and prevent the sperm from being able to effectively join with an egg to conceive an embryo. The scrotum’s temperature regulating abilities will usually be able to reduce the temperature of the testicles if they start to become too hot. In rare cases, it may not be effective and a male could become infertile.

If any abnormalities occur inside of the scrotum, it may result in a scrotal mass. A scrotal mass refers to any growth or lump that accumulates on the area surrounding the testicles. One possible cause of a scrotal mass is an infection caused by bacteria from a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or chlamydia or, in more rare circumstances, a viral infection in the epididymis, the small area behind the testicles that holds sperm. Scrotal masses can also be caused by accumulation of dead sperm, which forms into small sacs. In more serious circumstances, scrotal masses may be a sign of cancer of the testicles, in which abnormal cells multiply and form a tumor on the outside of the testicles.

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Discuss this Article

matthewc23
Post 4

Scrotal masses are something that needs to be looked at right away. Although it could just be a lot of dead sperm that accumulated it could also be something cancerous or a cyst.

It pays to play on the safe side of caution when it involves the groin area and it is nothing to be ashamed about to go see a doctor about.

I would say that I know many problems that involve the scrotum and especially the testicles have a timetable and there is little that can be done after the time limit has been reached. That is why it is good to play on the safe side of caution and make sure that if someone suspects they may have a problem to go see the doctor right away to figure out whether or not they just have an abnormality or something legitimately wrong with them that requires medical assistance.

cardsfan27
Post 3

I have heard of people losing testicles for something such as a torsion, where there is a short time table to operate. From my knowledge a torsion has about a six hour window to operate and unwrap the twisted chords of the testicle and save it.

An operation is totally necessary in order to save the testicle, but it not at all a complex procedure. I drove someone to the hospital who had this problem, and the surgery they had only lasted for half an hour and they were able to do home after a couple hours without having to stay at the hospital overnight.

A torsion in the scrotum is one of those things that is simple to fix but can cause a lot of problems if not stopped and corrected immediately.

jmc88
Post 2

@Izzy78 - I have heard about torsions and heard that they are rare but not completely uncommon. I think the only reason that they are so painful is because they occur in a very sensitive area of the body and require immediate medical attention to fix and save a testicle.

There are a variety of problems that can occur in the testicle and it is important for someone to go to the doctor or even the emergency room if they experience a variety of symptoms such as scrotal pain or a swollen testicle. One trip to the doctor can go a long way to make sure that a serious problem does not occur, because the scrotum is an area where there is usually a time table for a long of problems to be fixed.

Izzy78
Post 1

I recently drove one of my relatives to the emergency room because they suffered a torsion in their scrotum.

A torsion is when the cords inside the scrotum become detached from the skin and twist in such a way that it cuts off the circulation to the testicles. Once this happens there is about a six hour window in which to save the testicle and it causes the person to be in a phenomenal amount of pain.

Apparently there are a lot of things in the scrotum that could go wrong and it is definitely and area of the body in which someone should pay attention to any abnormalities or problems that may be going on.

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