Do testicles get bigger or smaller as you age?
As you may know, ageing brings a lot of changes with it.
Past 30 years old, testosterone – aka T – levels consistently drop, just a tiny itty bit, year by year. And it happens in your testicles because that’s where the manly hormone is produced.
Now, let’s dig into some facts…
An average testicle is about 4 x 3 x 2 cm in size and has an oval shape. Also, it’s highly normal to have a testes of a different size.
Testicles are found in the scrotum and are attached at each end to the spermatic cord.
These two gorgeous balls not only ensure your T levels but also your fertility, by being essentially external pouches for your sperm.
But if you are here, you may have noticed that your testicles have somewhat changed overtime or you are worried they will.
So, do testicles get bigger or smaller as you age?
And if they do change, does it really matter?
When Size Matters
While some studies have suggested that larger testicles are associated with higher testosterone levels in mammals and smaller sperm production, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a healthy human can’t produce normal testosterone and sperm levels in smaller than average testicles. (1)
However, some conditions can influence testes size and testosterone levels. In these cases, medical oversight will be crucial to improve T levels.
For instance, Klinefelter syndrome – which is the result of an additional X chromosome – can result in smaller and/or undescended testicles, low sex drive and a few female characteristics, such as less body hair and breast tissue. Furthermore, this syndrome can lead to lower T levels and decreased sperm activity, which can result in infertility.
Then, there’s another similar but far more common condition called “male menopause”, otherwise known as hypogonadism.
The symptoms of hypogonadism can include:
- smaller than average testicles
- a decreased amount of body and facial hair
- breast tissue growth
- lower testosterone levels
- decreased sperm count
In both cases, testosterone therapy is the suggested treatment, which can be useful for the most severe cases. However, mild cases can usually improve both conditions by improving their lifestyle.
So, if you notice that you have other symptoms associated with smaller testicles, consult a doctor.
Similarly, if your testes are swollen, this could be the sign of an underlying issue, consult a professional as soon as possible.
But can changes in testicles size be benign?
Changes of Testicles Size with Age
At birth, a male’s testicle is about 1 cubic centimetre and it stays that size until around 8, when puberty hits. Then, during puberty, they grow steadily until reaching their adult size.
With age, testosterone levels drop and this drop of production tends to make testicles smaller. This phenomenon is called testicular atrophy. (2)
This change is very gradual and rarely noticeable. Think of it as your other half losing a little weight and you not noticing because you see them every single day.
However, other than age, specific health issues can also cause testicular atrophy, such as:
- mumps, tuberculosis and certain viral infections
- blunt trauma
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like syphilis and the far more common gonorrhoea
Obviously, most of these factors will require medical assistance.
But…then, there are other factors that are rather harmless.
For example, cold can temporarily affect the “apparent” size of your testes and penis. And if anything, this is a very healthy coping mechanism of the body.
Your testicles are outside of your body because your sperm production needs an ideal temperature and your inner body is too warm. Similarly, when exposed to cold, your testicles will temporarily retract to maintain the temperature of your precious swimmers.
Nothing to worry about here.
Nonetheless, there’s another pathology that can change testicles size ad/or shape, especially in older gentleman.
A change of size or shape, a lump or a “heavier” testicle could be the first sign of testicular cancer. While this form of cancer is generally treated very successfully, it’s primordial to spot it early on.
A Few Final Words Before We Part…
As you may know, testicles are quite sensitive and unsurprisingly, quite precious. Benign changes can happen to them but sometimes, the changes can be the symptom of something else.
So, check your testes monthly by gently rolling them between your thumb and fingers to notice any changes in the size, shape or hardness.
If you see or feel anything suspicious, consult a doctor as soon as possible. It probably won’t be a big deal but it could be. Thus, it’s better to prevent anything getting worse.
Don’t wait and keep your testes healthy, your jewels are indeed very precious.
This article “Do testicles get bigger or smaller as you age?” was written by Michael King.
(1) Testes size, testosterone production and reproductive behaviour in a natural mammalian mating system. Brian T. Preston, Ian R. Stevenson, Gerald A. Lincoln, Steven L. Monfort, Jill G. Pilkington, Kenneth Wilson. Journal of Animal Ecology. 2011
(2) The effects of aging on testicular volume and glucose metabolism: an investigation with ultrasonography and FDG-PET. Yang H, Chryssikos T, Houseni M, Alzeair S, Sansovini M, Iruvuri S, Torigian DA, Zhuang H, Dadparvar S, Basu S, Alavi A. Mol Imaging Biol. 2011