Cryptorchidism is a condition that features with absence of a testicle from scrotum. Both testicles can be missing and the condition carries a lot of potential complications. During intrauterine development testicles are in the abdomen but they descend into the scrotum before the termination of the pregnancy. Each testicle comes down into the same-side scrotum. There are cases that undescended testicle eventually come into the scrotum within the first year of baby's life. If left undescended the testicle may be present in abdominal cavity, inguinal canal and even underneath the skin of thighs. There are even cases of so called atrophic testicles. These are either too small or sometimes even absent as they have never been formed.
The doctor may discover the problem right after the birth of a baby boy just by palpating the scrotum. The palpation is excellent way of even finding the testicle outside the scrotum.
Testicles are organs that cannot tolerate average body temperature. That is why they are situated within the scrotum where the temperature is to some extent lower. This is why the majority of complications occurs.
In case of undescended testicles increased temperature leads to infertility. The man may show low sperm counts, poor quality of sperm or reduced fertility. This can be all prevented if diagnosis of cryptorchidism is set on time mainly in childhood when testicular function is not in one's prime. A man may not even notice he is missing one testicle and after the poor medical results regarding fertility a doctor may exam the patient and establish the condition.
Those men who are suffering from undescended testicle are more susceptible to testicular cancer. A testicular cancer originates from the testicular cells which produce not fully formed sperm. The actual cause of testicular tumor has not been established yet.
Apart from previous rather severe complications undescended testicle can lead to several more complications. Testicular torsion is one of them. The spermatic cord snarls and the pain occurs. This cord consists of blood vessels, nerves and a tube whose role is to conduct semen from testicle to penis. The condition is severe and is surgically treated. Undescended testicle is more prone to trauma especially if localized in groins. It can be damaged in fights or during sports activities. One more complication is development of inguinal hernia which is a condition that features with prolapse of intestines through inguinal canal.
All in all the cases are mainly discovered right after the birth and majority of them are treated properly and on time. This means that in many patients these complications do not even occur.