- Retractile testicles—the testicles can move freely between the scrotum and abdomen. This condition does not require treatment and usually disappears by puberty.
- Ascending testicles—a normal testicle returns to the abdomen
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- Low birth weight
- Twin gestation
- Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormality in the fetus
- Gestational diabetes mellitus
- Prenatal alcohol exposure
- Prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke
- Hormonal abnormalities in the fetus
- Toxic exposures in the mother
- Having a mother younger than 20
- A family history of undescended testes
- Infertility or low fertility—A testicle is more likely to produce sperm in cooler temperature as in the scrotum, the heat inside the body is too high for sperm production.
- Testicular cancer
- Torsion—Testicles twist enough so that they cut off the blood flow to the testes. This can cause severe damage to the testicles.
- Emotional distress—As the child ages, they may have problems with the appearance of the empty scrotum.
Giving the problem time to go away on its own:
- In most children, the testes will descend on their own by four months of age.
- Retractile testicles will completely descend at puberty. Further treatment is not needed.
Hormone therapy with
human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
- This treatment is not used often.
- The hormone helps stimulate testicle development. This may encourage the testicle to move down.
Surgery called orchiopexy:
- The testicle is moved down and stitched into place.
- It is often done with laparoscopic surgery. The doctor makes tiny incisions in the area.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
National Infertility Association http://www.resolve.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Infertility Awareness Association of Canada http://www.iaac.ca
Cryptorchidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 21, 2014. Accessed June 3, 2014.
Docimo S, et al. The undescended testicle: Diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Nov 1;62(9):2037
Undescended testicles. American Academy of Family Physicians Family doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/undescended-testicles.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 3, 2014.
Undescended testicles. American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/genitourinary-tract/Pages/Undescended-Testicles.aspx. Updated May 11, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2014.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 06/03/2014 -