Your testes, aka testicles, are both a reproductive organ and an endocrine gland, for which most men have two. The primary function of a testicle is to produce sperm (what’s referred to as spermatogenesis) and androgens, mainly testosterone.
Testicle function is controlled by hormones produced by your pituitary gland. Luteinizing hormone causes testosterone to be released. Testosterone is responsible for a male’s secondary sex characteristics and it triggers spermatogenesis in concert with follicle stimulating hormone.
Generally, testes are shaped liked an egg and are in the scrotum, which hangs outside the body. The presumed reason for this external configuration is sperm production and storage is best at a lower temperature than that found internally. And when you’re in cold temperatures, the testes naturally pull up to keep warm.
At the time of a male baby’s birth their testes are internal. Within the first year of life, the testicles descend into the scrotum. Once in place, it is very normal for one testicle to hang lower than the other.
There are several health conditions that can have an affect on testicle function, such as:
Have your testes checked by your health care provider anytime you experience testicle pain for no apparent reason.
Orchiectomy means testicle removal. If both testes are removed before puberty, you’ll be sterile and fail to develop all your secondary sex characters. After puberty, infertility occurs and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics will require male hormone replacement. Also, aging can result in a gradual decrease of testosterone production as well, what’s sometimes referred to as andropause.
Another term used for testes is gonads.