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About your testicles & scrotum

Your testicles (sometimes called gonads) are two small oval-shaped organs. They hang down behind your penis, in a sac of skin called the scrotum. The medical term for testicles is testes (one testicle is a testis).

Your testicles are both about the same size. But it's normal for one to be slightly bigger than the other and for one to hang a bit lower than the other. They should feel smooth and firm but not hard without any lumps or bumps.

When you're around 11 to 12, your testicles start growing bigger. This continues until you reach early adulthood.

Your testicles produce and store sperm. They also produce the male sex hormone testosterone.

Your testicles are the main organ of the male reproductive system. They control male characteristics such as body and facial hair, sex drive (libido), muscle development, stamina and a deep voice.

Sperm from each testicle is stored in a structure called the epididymis. The epididymis sits at the top and back of each testicle. The epididymis is attached to your spermatic cord, which helps to support your testes in your scrotum. The spermatic cord runs from your testicle, through your groin to your abdominal cavity.

In your spermatic cord is another tube called the vas deferens. Your vas deferens carries sperm to your prostate gland. Your prostate produces a fluid that mixes with your sperm to produce semen which is ejaculated through your penis.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.

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