May 10, 2023

How to Do a Testicular Self-Exam

healthy young man
Testicles are oval-shaped organs that produce sperm. They’re enclosed in the scrotum below the penis. 

Health conditions like cysts, infections, and cancer can affect the testicles. Consequently, regular testicular self-exams are critical. 

Why Testicular Self-Exams Are So Important

Conditions like testicular cancer are more treatable when detected early. Doctors check the testicles for abnormalities during regular physical exams. However, because those visits may only occur annually, doing your own testicular exams can help you detect small changes before they become major health concerns.  

How to Perform a Testicular Self-Exams

No special preparation is required before doing a testicular self-exam. You may find it helpful to do your assessment after a warm shower or bath when the scrotum is more relaxed. 

Here’s how to do a testicular self-exam: 

  1. Stand in front of a mirror. 
  2. Examine the skin of the scrotum.
  3. Examine each testicle individually, using both hands' index and middle fingers of both hands below it and thumbs on top.
  4. Gently roll the testicle, feeling for abnormalities. 

Be aware that you’ll feel a soft cord (called the epididymis) attached to each testicle. That’s normal. So is a slight difference in size between the two testicles, or one hanging lower than the other. In addition, it’s common to have things like small ingrown hairs and rash bumps on the scrotum.

What to Look for During a Testicular Self-Exam

Knowing how to check yourself for testicular cancer and other issues is essential. When performing a testicular self-exam, you should note issues like:

  • Swelling
  • Bumps or lumps
  • Pain or soreness

Some problems may be immediately noticeable, while others are changes that only become apparent as you consider the results of the latest self-exam compared to prior ones. 

When and How Often to Do a Testicular Self-Exam

Boys should start doing self-exams in their teens. You should perform the exam each month. It takes just a few minutes, and catching a problem early can improve your treatment outcome. 

You may want to set calendar reminders about self-exams until doing them on the first day of the month, for example, becomes a habit. 

What to Do if You Find an Abnormality

If you notice an abnormality in a testicular self-exam, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for a testicular exam as soon as possible. If you’re wondering how to book a testicular exam, simply contact your provider and tell them you noticed something unusual when doing a self-exam.

Many issues besides cancer can cause changes in the testicles and scrotum, including non-cancerous cysts, infections, abnormally dilated blood vessels, and injuries. Your doctor can diagnose the issue and determine how to treat it if necessary. 

Learn About Urology Care at Baptist Health

Problems affecting the testicles range from minor issues requiring no treatment to cancer. You can protect your health and increase your peace of mind by doing regular testicular self-examinations monthly and contacting your doctor if abnormalities are detected. 

They can perform an exam and diagnose the issue. They may also refer you to a urologist—a doctor who specializes in this area. 

Learn about our urology care services today. 

Learn More.