What is Testicular Atrophy?
The shrinking of testicles because of an infection, alcohol abuse or the use of steroids is referred to as testicular atrophy. Testicular atrophy is not the same as the change in scrotum as a result of exposure to heat or cold.
Testicular Atrophy Symptoms
A visible shrink in the size of testicles is the most prominent symptom of this condition. If it affects boys before puberty, additional symptoms include absence of secondary sexual characteristics such as facial hair, pubic hair and increase in penile size. On the other hand, if it affects boys who have already gone through puberty, it can cause decreased libido, infertility, reduced muscle mass, absent or reduced facial hair growth and pubic hair growth, and make testicles feel softer than normal.
Testicular Atrophy Causes
This condition is usually the result of an inflammation of the testicles or orchitis. Orchitis triggered by viral infections like Mumps is known as viral orchitis, while orchitis triggered by a sexually transmitted disease is usually known as bacterial orchitis.
Other factors associated with this condition include Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), the use of estrogen or anabolic steroids, testicular torsion, varicoceles and alcohol abuse.
The risk of testicular atrophy also increases with age. This is because as the age of a man increases, his testosterone levels may decrease.
Testicular Atrophy Treatment
Testicular atrophy can be treated. If diagnosed early enough, it can be easily reversed. However, if it is left till a later stage, it may not be reversible. Treatment depends largely on the factors triggering the atrophy. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible and confirm a diagnosis.
In some cases, making a few lifestyle changes may be enough to treat the testicular atrophy. If it is caused by a sexually transmitted infection, antibiotic therapy may be required.