Recent Blog Articles
Seeing red? 4 steps to try before responding
Tics and TikTok: Can social media trigger illness?
Pandemic challenges may affect babies — possibly in long-lasting ways
4 immune-boosting strategies that count right now
If you have knee pain, telehealth may help
How to address opposition in young children
New study investigates treatment-associated regrets in prostate cancer
Minimizing successes and magnifying failures? Change your distorted thinking
Are poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly plants dangerous?
Waiting for motivation to strike? Try rethinking that
Undescended Testicle (Cryptorchidism)
What Is It?
An undescended testicle, also called cryptorchidism, is a testicle that has not moved down into the scrotum. Early in pregnancy, the testicles begin developing deep within the abdomen, influenced by several hormones. At 32 to 36 weeks' gestation, the testicles begin to descend into the scrotum. In 30% of premature and approximately 3% of full-term male infants, one or both of the testicles have not completed their descent at the time of birth. Most of these will then descend spontaneously during the first three to six months of life. By 6 months of age, less than 1% of babies still have the problem. Either one or both testicles can be affected.
An undescended testicle increases the risk of infertility (not being able to have children), testicular cancer, hernias and testicular torsion (twisting). An empty scrotum also can cause significant psychological stress as the boy gets older. For these reasons, early treatment is very important.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!