Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Men's Health

Select An Article
Font Size

Testicular Examination and Testicular Self-Examination (TSE)

Testicular examination and testicular self-examination (TSE) are two methods to detect lumps or abnormalities of the testicles.

The two testiclescamera.gif, or testes, are inside the scrotum. The testicles are the male reproductive organs that produce spermcamera.gif and the male hormone testosterone. Each testicle is about the size and shape of a small egg. At the back of each testicle is the epididymis, a coiled tube that collects and stores sperm.

The testicles develop within the abdomen of a male baby (fetus) and normally descend into the scrotum before or shortly after birth. A testicle that has not descended can increase the risk for testicular cancer.

Testicular examination

A testicular examination includes a complete physical exam of the groin and genital organs (penis, scrotum, and testicles) by your doctor. Your doctor will feel (palpate) the organs and examine them for the presence of lumps, swelling, shrinking (testicular atrophy), or other visual signs of an abnormality. A testicular examination can detect the causes of pain, inflammation, swelling, congenital abnormalities (such as an absent or undescended testicle), and lumps or masses that may indicate testicular cancer.

A genital exam is an important part of a routine physical exam for every teenage boy and man. Baby boys should also have their genitals checked for congenital abnormalities or an undescended testicle. An undescended testicle is more common in premature male babies than in full-term male babies.

Testicular cancer is rare, but it is the most common cancer in men younger than age 35. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by men themselves, or by their sex partners, as a lump or enlarged swollen testicle. In the early stages of testicular cancer, the lump, which may be about the size of a pea, usually is not painful. Testicular cancer found early and treated promptly has a very high cure rate.

Testicular self-examination (TSE)

Testicular self-examination (TSE) may detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by self-examination as a painless lump or an enlarged testicle.

Why It Is Done

Testicular examination

A testicular examination may detect the causes of pain, inflammation, swelling, congenital abnormalities (such as an absent or undescended testicle), and lumps or masses in the testicles.

Testicular self-examination (TSE)

Testicular self-examination (TSE) is done to familiarize a man with the normal size, shape, and weight of his testicles and the area around the scrotum. This allows him to detect any changes from normal.

How To Prepare

No special preparation is needed before a testicular examination by your doctor. But for comfort, you should empty your bladder ahead of time. You will be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.

Testicular self-examination (TSE) is painless and takes only a minute. It is best performed after a bath or shower, when the scrotal muscles are warm and relaxed.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Life Cycle of a Penis
Slideshow
Preacher Curl
Slideshow
 
testosterone molecule
Article
Xray of foot highlighting gout
Slideshow
 
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Slideshow
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
 
Man taking blood pressure
Slideshow
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
Condom Quiz
Quiz
thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
Slideshow
 
man running
Quiz
older couple in bed
Video