Reproductive health is important to all of us, and the best method of taking care of ourselves is to prevent anything from going wrong. For men, that means doing a monthly testicular self exam. The concept is similar to a woman's monthly breast exam in that you are looking for any abnormalities or lumps in the area. These oddities could be early signs of testicular cancer, which is commonly found as a painless lump or an enlarged testicle.
By doing monthly exams, you will become familiar with the normal size, shape, and weight of your testicles and the area around the scrotum. If you ever notice any changes, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately to make sure it is not cancerous.
Testicular self exams are easy to do and only take one to two minutes of your time. Here are the simple steps to go through to make sure you are healthy each month:
- The easiest time to do the exam is just after a shower. At this time, the scrotal muscles are exposed, warm, and relaxed.
- While standing, place your right foot up on the edge of the tub, the toilet, or another steady surface that is chair height.
- Gently feel the scrotal sac until you find your right testicle. Using both hands roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers, exploring the surface for unusual lumps. The loose skin of the sac will make it easy to be able to feel the entirety of the testicle for abnormalities. Putting your right foot back on the ground, place your left foot up on the same elevated surface and repeat the steps on your left testicle.
You should feel very little, if any, pain during this process. If the testicles happen to be swollen or inflamed, then the likelihood of pain increases. Any cancerous lump will feel firm to the touch and it is not usually painful or sensitive when pressed.
Each testicle surface should be very smooth, without any lumps or bumps. Any lumps or swelling that is found should be reported to your doctor right away. Also, if you are not able to feel both testicles, it is likely that one of them has yet to descend. This should be reported to your doctor as well, because it is a known risk factor of testicular cancer.