Undescended testes are more often seen in babies who are born early (preterm babies). This is because the testes don’t descend from the belly into the scrotal sac until month 7 of a baby’s growth in the uterus. Other causes may include hormone problems or spina bifida.
It may be caused by a reflex that causes a testicle to move up and down from the scrotum back into the groin (retractile testes). In some cases, the testes are missing. In rare cases, a boy who has inguinal hernia repair may develop undescended testes.
Undescended testes occur in about 3 in 100 to 1 in 20 male babies. A baby is more at risk for undescended testes if he:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. The most common sign is when a healthcare provider can’t feel the testes during an exam.
The symptoms of undescended testes can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. In many cases, the testes descend on their own into the scrotum by 3 months of age. In most cases, the testes descend by age 6 months without any treatment.
In other cases, treatment may be needed. This may include:
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about what kind of treatment is advised for your child.
If testes don’t descend, this can cause problems such as:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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