TESTICULAR SELF EXAMINATION : what it is and steps involved

Testicular self examination is a screening technique done by male individuals to examine their testes. The purpose for it is to note any form of abnormality like bumps or lumps  and to become familiar with the normal size of their testes.

It is very essential to regularly examine your testes because it helps you to know what it feels like when normal, so that you can identify any changes. Changes in your testicles could be a sign of common benign condition such as infection, cyst or testicular cancer, which is less common.

Most changes found are not always cancerous. But if it is, early detection can help your doctor commence immediate treatment.

What is the Appropriate time to do Testicular self examination?

Testicular self examination only takes a minute to be performed. It is suitable to start from teenage age of a man’s life and it should be done same date in every month. In addition, it is better to do it immediately after hot bath or shower because at this time, the scrotal skin is most relaxed and the testes can easily be felt.

If there is any tenderness or anything you don’t understand after examining your testes, visit your health care provider to lay your complains.

What to expect when performing the examination

During a testicular self examination, be very observant to know how the normal testicle is so that you can easily notice any changes.

Here are some characteristics of a normal testes to take note of:

  • Each testicle feels smooth and has a firm egg.
  • Adult testicle ranges in sizes from about 15-35 ml similar to a bird egg or to a  small chicken egg.
  • One testicle is slightly larger than the other.
  • Commonly, one testicle hangs lower than the other.
  • There should be no pain or discomfort when the testicles and scrotum are handled gently during examination.

How to perform testicular self examination

Testicular self examination is performed at your own convenience, but preferably after warm bath.

Here is a guide on how you can go about it:

1. Stand in front of a mirror

This will enable you to see what you are doing and view the sizes of the testes as well. You can then begin to feel the scrotum with your hands.

2. Check the testes one at a time

You can start with any of the testes either right or left. Feel with your fingers to know if there is any form of abnormality.

3. Gently roll the testicle between your thumb and other fingers

Observe and feel for any changes in your testicle which could be hard lumps or smooth rounded bumps. Take note of new changes in the size, shape and consistency.

4. Feel along the upper part of the scrotum

This is to look for the epididymis that is found behind the testicle. Normally, it should feel like a little bunch of tightly curled tubes.

When you are done, wash your hands and mark your calendar for the next self examination date. Note that, in a normal case, no pain or discomfort should be felt during testicular self examination. If any of the testes becomes swollen and painful, see your doctor immediately.


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