Reproductive Health Issues

Why some Men have three Testicles

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Some men have three testicles. This condition is known as Triorchidism. Normally, every man has two testicles present in a sac of skin located in the genital region of every male. The testes are a vital organ in the reproductive health of the males. Each testis has an important function of producing sperms. With the testes are the epididymis, vas deferens, and the spermatic cord. Furthermore, the scrotum also holds the vital blood vessels and some fat.

The spermatic cord carries the blood vessels from the abdomen to the testes and the adjacent structures. A blocked spermatic cord, for this reason, affects the blood supply of the testes. The epididymis is a thin tube through which the sperms travel from the testes, in the scrotum, to the vas deferens. The epididymis is approximately fifteen feet long which gives enough times for the sperms to mature as they pass through the thin, folded tube.  It is through the vas deferens that sperms travel to be passed out.

Every male, has a pair of testicles that are homologous to ovaries in the female. Each testis is about two inches long at the time of puberty. Inside each testicle are numerous coiled tubes which are known as seminiferous tubules. These seminiferous tubules are lined with germ cells that develop into sperms, during the whole life of the male, from puberty to old age. Apart from producing sperms, testes are also responsible for producing male sex hormones important for the male reproductive health. The most important male sex hormone produced by the testes is known as testosterone.

In some cases, male child is born with more than two testes. This phenomenon is known as polyorchidism. The most common form of polyorchidism occurs when the testes are three in number. This is known as triorchidism or tritestes. Triorchidism or tritestes is a very rare form of congenital disorder. According to medical literature, there are only about seventy eight cases that have been reported till date.

There are four types of tri triorchidism that are seen. In type 1, the additional testis has no epididymis and vas deferens. Furthermore, there is no connection of this testis to the others. On the other hand, in type 2 triorchidism, the additional testis shares the epididymis and vas deferens with the other testes. Furthermore, in type 3 triorchidism, the additional testis has its separate epididymis; however, it shares the vas deferens. Last, in type 4 triorchidism, the additional testis has its own separate epididymis as well as vas deferens.

Triorchidism has no symptoms and is found accidently through an ultrasound performed for some other reason. However, triorchidism does have an increased risk of malignancy.


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