The frequency of sexual activity and performance changes as men reach the latter stages of their life. This happens because the production of testosterone lessens as people get older. Testosterone is a hormone that is required for sperm production and the development of the male reproductive system. More than just a substance that stimulates sexual appetite, testosterone is a natural steroid hormone that is needed for proper immune system function, improved energy, and bone strength. The decline in the production of this substance in the body causes tiredness, depression, loss of strength, and low sex drive.
Age is not the only culprit in the decrease of testosterone production. Improper lifestyles like heavy drinking, smoking, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise may lead to testicular failure. Because the testicles are the producers of these sex hormones, such malfunction may lead to infertility, lack of sex drive or delayed sexual maturation. Testicular failure may also be caused by testicular cancer and orchitis.
Testicular cancer is an uncommon condition that affects only one percent of all cancers in men. Doctors do not know the exact cause of testicular cancer, but many risk factors for the development of this disease have been identified. Men between the ages 15 and 39 are at risk of acquiring this condition. Studies show that men who have undescended testicles are at high risk of testicular cancer. Other factors include Klinefelter’s Syndrome, a genetic condition that involves abnormal development of the testicles, and having a family history that is marked by testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer can be treated when detected early. Early detection of testicular cancer has improved the chances of survival by 95%. However, majority of men with testicular cancer do not seek treatment until the cancer has spread outside the testicles to other parts of the body.
Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:
· Pain or swelling of the testicles
· Painful or sometimes painless lumps or nodules
· Enlargement of the testicles
· Pain in the lower abdomen, back, or groin areas
· Swelling of the scrotum or collection of fluid within the scrotum
Orchitis, on the other hand, is the inflammation of one or two testicles due to infection. This ailment may be caused by different types of viruses and bacteria. Unknown to many, mumps or the swelling of the salivary glands also contributes to the the development of orchitis. About 30% of patients who develop mumps experience orchitis during the course of the illness. Mumps are common in boys past puberty and are unusual in boys before the age of ten. Orchitis usually develops four to six days after mumps occur. This kind of infection may also occur as a consequence of having sexually transmitted disease. The rate of this kind of contamination is higher in men aged 19 to 35 years old. Some of the symptoms of orchitis include:
· Swelling or heavy feeling of one or two testicles
· Swelling of the groin area
· Fever · Discharge from penis
· Pain during urination
· Testicular pain aggravated by bowel movement or straining
· Blood in the semen
Testicular ailments pose serious threat to one’s sexual life and overall health. Men are advised to take the necessary steps to monitor any swelling or unusual growth in the testicular area. Early detection and advanced medicines can help prevent and treat conditions like orchitis and testicular cancer.