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

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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 their physical health.

What are low-hanging testicles?

Low-hanging testicles are just testicles that don't rest as high or hang as close to your body, and instead, hang loose or hang farther away from the body. Men that have low-hanging testicles shouldn't have a problem unless they impact their quality of life.

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A man may also have low-hanging testicles if he has medical problems. If a man has a cyst or inguinal hernias (which happen when tissue pokes through abdominal muscles), the testicles can look saggier.

So, how do you know when to leave things alone and when to see a doctor? If anything looks abnormal or a man is experiencing pain in his groin or prostate, he should get checked out as there may be something more serious going on.

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

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.

According to studies, the cause of saggy testicles is due to aging as there is a decrease in skin mechanical properties as you get old. This is natural for your skin all over your body, but with time, your skin loses collagen as you get older, causing your layers of the skin to stretch more.

Another cause could be due to a varicocele which, 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."

Can you prevent testicles from sagging?

There are certain things men can do to prevent testicles from sagging, which include surgery and exercising the testicles.

Kegel exercise aims to find and activate the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, which are key in supporting penis and testicle health. A man's PC muscles are muscles that can hold back their stream of urine.

In kegel exercises, men contract those muscles like they are trying to cut off their urine stream. By doing this, men can improve the strength of their pelvic floor, which helps with issues not just in the testicles, but the prostate and penis.

Another exercise to prevent testicles from sagging is called testicular holding, which is can be compared to weight training except for testicles. To do this, a man has to hold both his testicles in one hand and pull downward on them. This activates the PC muscles. Doing this for 5 minutes a day might make the PC muscles stronger and activate them faster than just from kegels.

In general, staying healthy will prevent testicles from sagging — not smoking, avoiding sun exposure, drinking less alcohol, staying active, and eating healthy.

If you do chose to have surgery, a procedure called scrotoplasty raises the testicles and helps keeps the scrotum from hanging. The surgery involves the doctor removing extra skin from the scrotum, letting the testicles rest higher up. However, results of a scrotoplasty are not permanent and can wear off over time because there's no way to make your skin stop growing as you age.

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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.

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

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 noticeable by the age of 50, and should not be cause for concern.

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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.

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

Hacks and myths like wearing tighter underwear, using creams or lotions, taking vitamins or hormones, or even masturbating less are all things people on the internet have recommended for treating overly saggy testicles.

In fact, wearing tighter underwear might make your testicles feel less saggy while you're wearing them, but they will not help with a permanent solution. Using creams can certainly help moisturize your skin and maybe slow down the gradual loss of elasticity, same with moisturizers and vitamins, but they won't magically help your testicles from sagging. And lastly, masturbating and performing any other sexual activities has no effect on a man's skin elasticity or the size of his testicles.

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.

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 — which, explained earlier, is essentially the same thing as varicose veins in the leg, but occurring within the scrotum — it should be addressed by a medical professional.

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," feeling like "a bag of worms," "Patients may have a sensation of shifting inside their scrotum," notes Fisch. And the 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 percent of adolescent males and 15 percent 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.