Testicles form in the abdomen during fetal development. During the final months of development, the testicles gradually descend into the scrotum. If your son has a retractile testicle, the testicle originally descended as it should, but then it didn't remain in place.

Signs and symptoms of a retractile testicle include the following:

  • The testicle may be moved by hand from the groin into the scrotum and won't immediately retreat to the groin.
  • It may spontaneously appear in the scrotum and remain there for a time.
  • It may spontaneously disappear again for a time.

The movement of the testicle almost always occurs without pain or discomfort. Therefore, a retractile testicle is noticed only when it is no longer seen or felt in the scrotum.

The position of one testicle is usually independent of the position of the other one. For example, a boy may have one normal testicle and one retractile testicle.

Retractile testicle is different from undescended testicle (cryptorchidism). The undescended testicle is one that never entered the scrotum. If a doctor attempted to guide an undescended testicle, it would cause discomfort or pain.

When to see a doctor

During regular well-baby checkups and annual childhood checkups, your son's doctor examines your son's testicles to determine if they're descended and appropriately developed. If you believe that your son has a retractile or ascending testicle — or have other concerns about the development of his testicles — see his doctor. He or she will tell you how often to schedule checkups to monitor changes in the condition.

If your son experiences pain in the groin or testicles, see your son's doctor immediately.

Oct. 03, 2012