Sexual Health: How to Check Your Love Spuds with Cam Fraser
on 13 Jun 2022
This Men’s Health Week, Cam gives you the low-down on how to keep an eye on your family jewels.
I talk a lot about sexual pleasure, but something equally important is sexual health. If you’ve got a penis and testicles, part of your sexual health maintenance should be checking yourself for testicular lumps. While testicular cancer is a relatively rare tumour type, accounting for approximately 1% of all male cancers globally (Shanmugalingam et al., 2013), inspecting your testicles once a month for lumps is important.
Checking yourself can help you become familiar with your testicles; including the look, feel and shape. This familiarity will help you notice any abnormalities.
Remember, healthy testicles feel like smooth, firm eggs. They can range in size, from the size of a bird egg to the size of a chicken egg. One testicle may also be slightly larger than the other and one testicle may hang lower than the other.
This is very common and totally normal. There should be no pain or discomfort when the testicles are handled gently.
The best time for you to examine is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. It may help to check yourself in front of a mirror, so you can see as well as feel what you’re doing.
Here are some guidelines to follow when performing a testicular self-examination:
Begin by holding your penis out of the way so you can examine each side separately. Hold your testicle between your thumbs
and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between your fingers. Look and feel for any hard lumps, any smooth, rounded masses, or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of your testicles.
Feel along the underside of the scrotum to find the epididymis that sits at the back of the testicle. It should feel like a little bunch of tightly curled tubes.
Testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes which carry sperm. You might confuse these with abnormal lumps at first, which is why it is important to get familiar with your testicles so you can notice anything unusual. Keep an eye out for lumps or swelling in or on the testicle itself, a change in testicular size, a change in testicular shape, or a change in the consistency or feel of the testicle.
Remember, even if your testicle does get larger, there are many reasons other than cancer. For example, fluid can collect around the testicle to form a hydrocele. Or the veins in the testicle can dilate and cause enlargement and lumpiness, known as a varicocele. In any case, if you are concerned, consult a doctor.
Examining your testicles regularly will help you to know what's normal and what's different but this doesn’t have to be a clinical thing. You can draw yourself a warm bath and check your testicles in there as part of your self-care or self-pleasure practice. You might like to give yourself a massage while you’re down there. Familiarity with your genitals can also increase awareness of physical sensations of pleasure and arousal and that’s just for fun.
If you do notice any changes, be sure to report them to your doctor without delay.