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Six Common Myths About the Testicles

Whether you call them the testicles, balls, tea baggers, nuts, cojones...whatever! There are a lot of misconceptions about them. Here are six myths about this essential part of the male reproductive system, debunked. 

1. "The Penis Is the Only Thing That Grows for Sex"

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When  a man is aroused, the penis isn't the only thing that experiences changes. As the blood vessels fill with more blood (which is essential for an erection), the testicles can nearly double in size

2. "Vasectomies Are Permanent"

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Depending how long it's been since the initial surgery, it's possible to reverse a vasectomy. 

During a vasectomy, the vas deferens (the connecting tube of muscle between the testicles and the urethra) is snipped, clamped, or sealed. (WebMD) A vasectomy reversal surgery reconnects that pathway, using a special microscope. (Urology Care Foundation)

3. "Only Old Men Have to Worry About Testicular Cancer"

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It's true that generally, cancer rate increases as you get older. However, that's not the case with testicular cancer. It's a young man's cancer, with most cases being in men between the ages of 20 and 34. Each year, approximately 8500 men are diagnosed with this disease, and 350 die from it.  Early detection is key, so be diligent about performing regular self-exams and if you notice any changes, see a doctor. 

4. "Eventually They Stop Making Sperm"

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Though the amount of sperm produced decreases with age, the male body never stops making sperm. In fact, in 2012 a 96-year-old man in India became a new dad. 

5. "Men Don't Make Sperm After Getting a Vasectomy"

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After a vasectomy, the testicles continue to make sperm as normal, only the sperm never mixes with the semen. Instead, it's reabsorbed by the body.

The same reabsorption happens to non-snipped men who haven't ejaculated recently, according to WebMd

6. "If They're Asymmetrical It's WEIRD"

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Unevenness is perfectly normal. According to Men's Health, "That way they can't damage each other when you're sitting or running." The testicle's unevenness also helps keeps them at a cooler temperature, which they need for sperm production (that's why the sperm count goes down for men who use hot tubs or men who have a fever). 

In addition to unevenness, it's normal for one testicle to be a little bit bigger (around half a teaspoon) than the other. Though if you notice any unusual change in size (especially if accompanied by pain in the groin, lower back, or abdomen), see a doctor.