A retractile testicle typically moves in and out of the scrotum, instead of resting in the scrotum at all times. It is different than an undescended testicle because it has descended into the scrotum and can often be guided back into the scrotum manually by a pediatrician or a guardian that has been properly trained.
Usually, a retractile testicle will resolve itself naturally during puberty and remain in the scrotum throughout adulthood. Occasionally, a retractile testicle cannot be moved back from the groin to the scrotum; this is called an ascending testicle.
A retractile testicle is often caused by an active cremaster muscle. The cremaster muscle surrounds the spermatic cord, which carries the blood vessels and vas deferens (sperm tube) to the testicle. The cremaster normally functions to bring the testicle closer to the body to control the temperature of the testicle in cold surroundings. However, this same muscle may draw the testicle into the groin in the case of a retractile testicle for other reasons, such as a result of physical contact or emotional stress.
During regular examinations or checkups with your pediatrician, they will be able to assess the state of your child’s testicles and show you how to safely guide a retractile testicle back into the scrotum. Positioning your child in frog-legged position with their knees separated can help with checking the position of the testicles. Your pediatrician can also train you, and when age-appropriate, your child, on how to perform testicle health exams to monitor the condition at home.
If a retractile testicle is unable to be guided back into the scrotum, is causing pain when being guided into the scrotum, or has not resolved itself during puberty, make an appointment to see a specialist in the Division of Urology for a comprehensive medical consultation.
If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).