As with any other part of your body, your testicles are susceptible to injury, disease and a wide range of conditions. And as with your prostate, bladder and kidneys, being in tune with your testicular health is of utmost importance, particularly if you want to have kids.
The testicles are part of the male reproductive system. They have two main functions: to make male hormones such as testosterone and to make sperm. Keeping them in safe and in tip-top shape isn’t hard: here are four golden tips for keeping your testicles healthy!
Regularly examining your testicles for any abnormalities is the best way to detect cancer early. Scheduling in a simple self-examination once a month at home is a great idea.
Here’s how to do it:
• First off, it’s best to do this after a warm bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is most relaxed
• Hold your penis out of the way
• Gently roll each testicle between your fingers and thumb, one at a time
• Check for any hard lumps, nodules or abnormalities (changes in the size or shape of the testicle)
• If you find anything of concern, you should see your doctor immediately
Each testicle has a small coiled tube on the upper or middle outer side of the testicle that may feel like an abnormality. This is the epididymis and is a part of the testes, so don’t fret!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often it doesn’t happen. In Australia, cricket is the only sport where wearing protection for the nether regions is the norm, however, there are a range of options available for other common sports like rugby and soccer (which are nowhere near as awkward as a standard cricket cup, by the way).
Do some research and consider what might work for you – it could save you a world of pain!
Smoking is a serious risk factor for a number of urologic conditions, including cancer in the bladder, kidneys, and prostate. Studies also suggest a close link between smoking cigarettes and testicular cancer. Cigarette smoke contains harmful carcinogens such as arsenic, which has been linked to several types of cancer when exposed to high levels.
A recent study published in Cancer has also suggested a link between smoking marijuana and testicular cancer, with findings indicating that recreational smokers may be twice as likely to develop testicular germ cell tumours, or nonseminomas. Multiple studies have also suggested that smoking has an adverse effect on sperm count, sperm mobility. Quit smoking (all kinds) – your testicles will thank you for it!
Oxidative stress is an important factor for the development of male infertility. There is extreme competition for oxygen in cells of the testes due the weakness of testicular arteries. Therefore, the testicular tissue and male reproductive system are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. However, consumption of antioxidants can break down the oxidative chain reaction and increase the body’s capacity to fight free radical-induced oxidative stress, and therefore improve sperm production.
Oxidative stress is also linked to a number of chronic conditions. In particular, high levels of oxidative stress and the resulting inflammation in known to lead to many types of cancer, including testicular cancer.
Eating plenty of foods rich in antioxidants is great for testicular health (and your overall wellbeing). Fruits and vegetables are your best friend here: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, cherries, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, red bell peppers, corn, and eggplant are just some of the foods that are rich in antioxidants.
If you have any questions about testicular health, testicular cancer, or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Dr Arianagyam is one of the most trusted urologists in Sydney.
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