What It Means If A Man Has Low-Hanging Testicles (AKA Saggy Balls)

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What It Means If A Man Has Low-Hanging Testicles (AKA Saggy Balls)
Health And Wellness, Sex

Women aren't the only ones out there with massive insecurities about our bodies. Though it can hard to believe, there are countless men who feel like their bodies are just as scrutinized as those of women.

One major source of embarrassment and shame for men comes in the form of drooping testicles. That's right, low-hanging testicles (sometimes less graciously referred to as saggy balls).

While women with saggy breasts may be able to boost their egos with the help of push-up bras, for men with drooping testicles, that just isn't an option.

And cosmetic appearances aside, many men wonder if sagging or low-hanging testicles are a sign of anything concerning about their physical health.

What causes low-hanging testicles, and should a man who notices them be concerned about his health?

RELATED: 9 Crazy, WTF Facts You Never Knew About Your Man's Testicles

The thing about testicles is, well ... they are designed to droop! When they droop they are doing their job of making and protecting sperm, as well as producing testosterone, and doing it very well.

That said, low-hanging testicles can feel uncomfortable and, in certain cases, could lead to infertility and a drop in testosterone.

So how do you know when to leave things along and when to see a doctor?

Here are four key things to know about low-hanging testicles, including potential causes and when to see your physician about your health.

1. All testicles shrink and droop to maintain the ideal temperature for sperm production and storage.

You know what testicles spend most of their time doing? (And no, this is a not a hilarious joke for you to share the next time you're out at happy hour.)

When your testicles hang away from your body, they're doing this for a very good reason: Testicles spend a good deal of their time shrinking or drooping in order to keep a man's sperm at the ideal temperature.

You see, while a healthy human body stays a toasty 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or thereabouts, "sperm production occurs at around 93.2ºF (34ºC). This is 5.4ºF (3ºC) below normal body temperature of 98.6ºF (37ºC )."

When your body gets too cold, the cremaster muscle (responsible for lowering the testicles down and lifting them back up) makes sure your scrotum and testicles contract and sit closer to the body for warmth. And when your body gets too warm or sweaty, they droop down to keep your sperm fit, healthy and viable.

See? Your testicles may not have brains, but they do have the natural gifts of shrinkage and droop, and the cremaster makes sure that all stays as it should be in Testicle Town.

RELATED: Men Are Paying $800 To Get Their Testicles Botoxed To Reduce Wrinkles

2. Testicles droop even more with age.

All of that said, gravity is a brutal mistress!

While testicles first descend during puberty (often between the ages of 10 to 13) and are supposed to droop when too warm, as you grow older, the weight of your testicles and diminishing elastic properties of collagen in your skin can lead your testicles to start swinging a little bit lower a bit more often than they once did.

For most men, these effects of aging will be at least somewhat noticable by the age of 50, and should not be cause for concern.

3. Most internet hacks for tightening up low-hanging testicles are nothing but hype.

If you have testicles and have noticed them drooping, the worst thing in the world that you could ever do is go on the internet and try to figure out how to "fix" the problem.

Let me help you out right now before you go further down the rabbit hole and wind up on some sub-reddit for men with tragically saggy testicles: don't believe the hype.

Hacks like wearing tighter underwear, doing kegels, or getting a scrotal tuck are all things people on the internet have recommended for treating overly saggy testicles, but here's something important to remember: unless your testicles are sagging an excessive amount due to a legitimate medical condition (we'll get to that next), there is no scientific evidence to back up the idea that any of these so-called techniques will stop, let alone reverse, testicle sag.

RELATED: How Guys Really Feel About You Touching Their Balls

4. In some cases, low-hanging testicles may be caused by varicoceles.

While most droopy testicles are caused by gravity, time and the innate function of testicles themselves, there is a condition men should be aware of when it comes to monitoring their own droopy testicles.

While a little droop is natural, when droopy testicles are caused by varicoceles — essentially the same thing as varicose veins in the leg, but occurring within the scrotum — it should be addressed by a medical professional.

According to Dr. Harry Fisch, a clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine in New York, "A varicocele is a swelling of the veins surrounding the testicles. This phenomenon is due to a backflow of blood that causes the blood vessels to engorge."

While some varicoceles occur without any obvious symptoms, a few signs to look for include:

  • Low-hanging testicles and asymmetric testicles: "[Where] one side — usually the left — droops lower than the other."
  • A feeling like "a bag of worms": "Patients may have a sensation of shifting inside their scrotum," notes Fisch.
  • Pain in the testicles accompanying the sagging.

For the most part, testicles hanging too low is strictly a matter of cosmetics, but that's not the case when it comes to a varicocele.

Dr. Fisch adds, "If you have a varicocele, warm blood from your abdomen can pool in your scrotum, raising the temperature. This rise in temperature is why men with varicoceles often have low-hanging scrotal sacs. As the temperature grows, your testicles move farther away from your body to seek a cooler environment, causing an elongated scrotum."

It's been estimated that somewhere around 20% of adolescent males and 15% of adult males have varicoceles.

If left untreated, varicoceles can cause low sperm production, decreased sperm quality, shrinkage/atrophy of the affected testicle, and/or infertility, although most do not require treatment.

If necessary, this condition can be treated by a varicocelectomy, a simple procedure with very little recovery time.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margo. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.