Big balls. A real set of low-hangers. Brass balls. With so many phrases like that out there, it seems like our society is obsessed with ball size and shape. There’s even an AC/DC song about it. But for all the idioms out there, we keep pretty quiet about what normal balls actually look like. What’s the average testicle size? Does size really matter? What about lumps and bumps? It’s time to grow a pair and talk about what’s normal for your balls.
What’s the average testicle size?
First off, to determine average size, there needs to be a standard way of measuring testicles. Since testicles aren’t exactly a shape that lends itself to easy measuring, doctors have created a way to measure testicular volume (basically the total size of the testicle) using a simple tool. Urologist use an orchidometer, basically a series of differently sized beads/balls that are compared to the size of the testicle. The bead that most closely matches the size of the testicles is used to determine total testicular volume.
The normal range of testicular volume is 12-30 ml, with the average size being 18 ml. It’s not outside of the ordinary for one ball to hang slightly lower than the other, or to be slightly bigger (roughly half a teaspoon bigger) than the other. However, if the size difference is any larger than that or accompanied by pain of any kind, we recommend you see a doctor, this could be swelling due to any number of conditions.
Does Testicle Size Matter?
Doc’s are pretty split on this issue, but in general, bigger does not necessarily mean better. With testicles, you want to fall within the average range. Abnormally small testicles (adult testicles with a volume of 12 ml or below), also known as microorchidism, are associated with a number of conditions, including Prader-Wili Syndrome, and Klinefelter Syndrome. On the other side of the spectrum, abnormally large testicles (adult testicles with a volume over 30ml), also known as macroorchidism, is associated with Fragile X Syndrome, a thyroid deficiency, or numerous other hormonal disorders.
Recently, studies have been released attributing different traits to different testicular sizes. For example, this study done by Emory University that found that men with smaller testicles make better fathers. Or this study from Italy that showed a correlation between large testicles and heart disease. However, at this time, more research is necessary to determine the relationship between testicular size and overall health.
If you’ve notice a marked change in testicular size, it’s important that you check in with a doctor. This could be due to a number of health complications, including hormonal changes brought on by thyroid issues, or excessive swelling.
Lumps, Bumps and Veins: Oh My!
You’re testicles are a pretty bizarre shape, but in general, they should be oval and fairly smooth. If you notice a change in texture (lump, bumps, enlarged/varicose veins), see your doctor as soon as possible. While there’s no reason to panic (testicular cancer accounts for about 1% of male-related cancers, so the chances of the lumps being cancerous are fairly low), the lump won’t just go away on it’s own and the longer you choose to ignore it, the more the symptoms will persist.