Going solo

If we have one goal on this site, it’s to make sure everyone’s testosterone stays at a healthy peak indefinitely.

Mainly by suggesting ways to battle age-related T loss and cut out bad habits so our bodies’ natural machinery keeps firing on all cylinders. Not least those two boys in the basement pumping out that all-important testosterone.

But what if, through no fault of our own, the efficient system we’ve worked so hard to maintain has to change? Say if we’re unlucky enough to need a testicle removed for medical reasons?

If it’s a matter of survival, obviously there’s no choice. But losing one would seem to be halving the workforce in our vital factories, responsible for producing both sperm and male hormone. So doesn’t that mean our fertility and vitality will inevitably take a hit?

Here we’ll take a look at what, if any, changes to expect after losing a testicle.

Life saver

There are actually a few reasons why guys might need this operation, technically known as an orchiectomy.

Severe infection, physical injury or complications from a hernia are all possibilities. As is testicular torsion, a condition where the spermatic cord twists and cuts off blood supply to the teste. Correcting this doesn’t always require removal, but in severe cases, it may be necessary.

Sadly, the most common reason any of us will need a testicle removed is testicular cancer. Among males aged 15 to 44 it’s the most common kind, with average age of diagnosis being at 33.

The good news is, although cases have risen by about 40% in recent years, survival rates have also soared. The outlook for men receiving treatment for this cancer is 95% positive. However, in many cases that treatment will involve removing the affected testicle.

Clearly, if it gives the best chance of recovery, having the operation is a no-brainer. Yet considering the testicles’ importance to our hormones and our hormones importance in staying fit, healthy and happy; it’s understandable some guys may wonder about quality of life and relationships after their operation.

Remember, 95% of testosterone – in charge of energy, strength, muscle mass, libido and sexual function – comes from our testicles. Plus 80% of a testicles volume is seminiferous tubules. Tube-like structures which create sperm cells crucial to fertility.

It takes two?

So will having a testicle removed actually affect testosterone levels, fertility, libido or sexual performance? Thankfully, the answer is no. At least not long term.

The human body is an amazing thing and this is just another example of that. In most cases the remaining testicle will pick up the slack and double its own production to maintain your pre-op T levels. That means holding on to all your old physical and sexual attributes.

Provided you were creating healthy amounts beforehand, you shouldn’t worry about suddenly experiencing low testosterone.

Likewise you should have no real concerns about fertility once you’ve completed treatment. Again, if you had a healthy sperm count before cancer, thanks to the remaining testicle, you will again.

Think of it in terms of Paul Simon. Part of a great duo and when they split you thought “There’s no way this one guy can match their success alone”. But he did it, no problem.

The biggest concern for fertility while battling cancer is if you need chemotherapy. This may damage reproductive ability. Sometimes only for a time, other times more permanently. So it’s often suggested before starting treatment that a sperm sample to be frozen in case we wish to start a family later on.

It’s not unheard of for there to be a temporary drop in libido after a testicle is removed. But this shouldn’t last. It’s just while your system readjusts to its new setup.

After surgery guys will likely be too tender for all that anyway. But by the time the swelling and bruises has gone down, they’ll be the only things going in that direction.

Worth mentioning here if we’re worried about how things look post-op we can opt for a silicone prosthetic

Check up from the neck up & waist down

Don’t get us wrong, just because it won’t affect fertility or hormone output, doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to come to terms with.

Any big changes in what we’ve been use to can take an emotional toll, no matter how much we’re reassured. That’s why if we’re struggling to deal with our new situation it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a counsellor.

As with any cancer though, the quicker it’s caught, the better the outlook. The simplest way to ensure this happens is to take every baseball umpires advice – PLAY BALL(s). A quick check takes no time at all. (Anymore than 5 minutes and you’re offically just playing with yourselves lads.)

The best time to check is after a shower or a bath when skin is at its loosest. Healthy testicles should be smooth and firm so feel for any hard lumps. Also, our testicles are tender (we’ve all learned that the hard way) but shouldn’t be sore to the touch. It’s good idea to weigh each gently in the palm of your hand as a big difference (slight variation is normal) in size or weight is another red flag.

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