Inside and outside
- The testes (balls) are where sperm is produced and stored once a boy has entered puberty. The testes are also the body’s main source of male hormones.
- The scrotum is the sac of skin which holds the testes in place outside the body.
- The prostate gland is located near the bladder and is involved in urination as well as ejaculation. It produces fluid which forms part of semen.
- The vas deferens is a tube that carries the sperm from the testes to the urethra.
- The penis is an external male sex organ through which semen passes during sex. The penis is also used for urination. Penises come in different shapes, colours and sizes.
- The foreskin is a fold of skin that covers the top of the penis. Sometimes the foreskin is removed surgically at birth in a procedure known as circumcision. The penis works the same way whether or not it has a foreskin.
During puberty, your testicles (testes) change and begin to produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm. Sperm are tadpole shaped and their ‘tails’ help them move. Sperm are so tiny that they can only be seen under a microscope.
Testicles need to stay cool for sperm to develop normally. This is why they hang outside the body in a sac (bag) called the scrotum. It is quite normal for one testicle to be larger or to hang lower than the other.
Why should I check my testicles?
One of the most common cancers for men between the ages of 15 and 30 years is cancer of the testes. Once you have reached puberty, it is a good idea to regularly check the size and shape of your testicles. A good time to do this is in the shower. The purpose of this check is to get to know the size, shape and texture of your testicles. It is perfectly normal for one of your testicles to be bigger than the other. But if you notice any changes in your testicles, especially a lump, you must see a doctor.