Testicular Self Exam

TSE or Testicular Self Examination is a way to examine your testes to find out if they have a normal or an abnormal condition.

We actually check for lumps or any swellings or abnormalities in the testes and an early detection can save your life. So if you do it once a month and if you know what to look for you might be able to save your life. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men between 15 and 35 years of age. So, you check regularly, to know what’s normal, and then if there’s something abnormal you’ll be able to detect it.

So let me show you how to do that examination. Right after the shower, or even during the shower, you can do the examination by standing straight and holding the testes with one hand at the top and the other hand is checking if they’re both sides at the same level. You might find that one is higher than the other, that’s ok. But you just have to check, what is normal in your case and remember that. So, if the right one is higher, you remember, or the opposite.

And then you’ll be holding with one hand, say the left hand, and with the right hand you check the right side. Initially you’ll start to fell it and then you’ll feel that something is like running, escaping from you. And gradually you’ll start to learn to hold it tight and fell what’s inside that bag. This bad is called the scrotum. So, with rolling movements between two fingers you will start to feel what’s inside. And once you finish the right side, you hold the top with the right hand and then do the left hand to check the left side, with a rolling movement, in a circle.

Now, what do we actually look for? What should you be feeling inside? Let’s see.

This is an example of what you should be feeling. Inside the scrotum you’ll feel on testis on the right, and the normal size is about 5×2.5cm (2.5x1inch). In the bag of this bag you’ll find yet another structure, and that is called the epididymis. You will actually find sort of on top back of the testes another mass, and that’s normal. That’s the epididymis, and on the other side as well.

Sometimes you might be feeling that one testis has gotten slightly bigger. If you have any pain or feeling that it’s gotten bigger than normal you should contact your doctor. Sometimes you might also feel that one of the testes is smaller than the other, but this is abnormally small, or both have been shrinking very strangely, you’re not used to it, this is also a sign that you should see the doctor.

You might also find a small swelling in the size of a pea, right on the surface, so you feel it from outside, and this is a strange swelling. This is an abnormal swelling. This needs contact with a doctor. And also maybe a swelling even this size, as small as a rice, also this is strange.

So, what you need to do is get used to the normal feel of your body, of your testes, so that you would immediately know if there’s something abnormal there. Usually you would feel the surface, and its very soft and there’re no swelling or tumors. There’s only a mass in the back, and that’s the epididymis

Another thing you might feel is the sensation that there is a bag of worms at the back of the testes, and that’s a sign of varicocele. This is also a problem that demands us to seek medical help.

What should you be feeling? So, let’s see what’s normal.

This is a normal testis, so you see here, this is the front side and it’s a normal, soft egg-like structure, and in the back there’s a group of tubes, very small tubes, collecting together, called the epididymis, this is the two structures that you feel. So, what’s abnormal is to feel a swelling or a change in size, so, has gotten very much bigger or very much smaller than normal. Or if you notice any lumps, any tumors in the size of a pea or rice or bigger or smaller. Or if it changes in color, so the color suddenly changed to blue or very red, this is not normal. If there’s pain that you’re not used to, this is abnormal, and if the testis is not there or has never been there, please remember that, so, any change in the position of it, please tell us. And this bag of worm sensation, this is a sign of varicocele.

Do it every month to save your life maybe one day.

All the best!

Alyaa Gad