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- 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.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 03/2017
- Update Date: 06/03/2014