Undescended Testis

What is cryptorchidism (undescended testes)?

Cryptorchidism (or undescended testes) is a condition seen in newborns when one or both of the male testes have not passed down into the scrotal sac. Ten percent of cases are bilateral (involve both testes). Cryptorchidism is more commonly seen in premature males because the testes do not descend from the abdomen to the scrotal sac until the seventh month of fetal development.

Prevention & Risk Treatment

Prevention & Risk Treatment

What causes undescended testes?

Undescended testes may occur for several reasons. While prematurity is a leading cause, other causes may include hormonal disorders, spina bifida, retractile testes (a reflex that causes a testicle to move back and forth from the scrotum to the groin), or testicular absence.

Who is affected by undescended testes?

According to pediatric urologists:

  • Undescended testes occurs in approximately 3 to 5 percent of male infants.
  • Up to one-third of premature male infants have an undescended testis.
  • There is also a genetic component: 14 percent of males with undescended testes also had a male relative with the condition. 
  • In rare cases, boys who undergo an inguinal hernia repair may develop undescended testes.

What are the symptoms of undescended testes?

A nonpalpable testis (unable to feel on examination) is the most common symptom of cryptorchidism. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of cryptorchidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

How are undescended testes diagnosed?

Diagnosis of undescended testes is made based on a complete medical history and physical examination.

Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

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Departments

Urology

At Children’s National in Washington, DC, our pediatric urologists provide comprehensive care for disorders affecting reproductive and urinary organs.

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Dylan's Story

"I love Children's National. As an employee and the mother of a former patient, I am grateful that we have such a great hospital right in our backyard."

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