What to know about sagging testicles
Skin loses its elasticity over time as a person gets older, and the effects of gravity start to become more noticeable everywhere on the body, including the testicles.
Some treatments can help keep the scrotum from sagging too much, although there is no way to prevent or treat the issue completely. Sagging testicles, which people often refer to as saggy balls, are usually not a cause for concern. However, if they appear with other symptoms, such as pain on one side of the balls or in the prostate, a person should see a doctor.
In this article, we look at the possible causes of sagging testicles, as well as treatment options and when to see a doctor.
What is normal?
The skin around the testicles loses its elasticity as a person gets older.
The testicles hang inside the scrotum, or scrotal sac. The looseness of the skin around the testicles varies among individuals, and in many people, it is naturally fairly loose. The scrotum helps protect the testicles and provides some impact resistance.
The scrotum also moves in response to heat to protect the delicate testicles and sperm inside. In doing so, it helps keep the sperm viable by preventing them from becoming too warm or too cold.
In cold weather, the skin tightens up as the cremaster muscle pulls the testicles toward the body to keep them warm. In hot conditions, the skin loosens to prevent the testicles from overheating. The looser skin allows the balls to hang away from the warm body and encourages airflow around the scrotum to keep the area cool.
As such, even in younger people, the testicles will typically sag a bit. A person will generally notice this once they start producing sperm during puberty.
As a person ages, the testicles will generally sag much more. The process may not be noticeable at first, but by the age of 50 years, most people will notice a drastic difference in how much their balls sag.
Sagging testicles are a completely normal part of the aging process. A study from verifies the decrease in skin mechanical properties with aging. The skin loses collagen with age, causing the layers of the skin to stretch more.
While this applies to the skin everywhere on the body, it may be more noticeable in certain areas, such as the face and testicles. The scrotum and testicles already hang away from the body, so more stretchy skin and the efforts of gravity can lead to the effect appearing more drastic.
Other times, sagging testicles may be the result of an underlying issue, such as a varicocele. A varicocele occurs when a vein near the testicles swells up. This swelling can cause an increased blood flow to the testicles, which heats them. The body then responds by dropping the testicles lower to prevent them from getting too hot.
According to a study in the , varicoceles appear in up to 15% of males and may have an association with infertility.
Varicoceles may make a person feel as though their testicles are moving or squirming, and they may also notice pain in the area. Anyone experiencing these symptoms alongside sagging testicles should see a doctor. Sometimes, a person will not experience any other symptoms and will not notice that they have the issue.