The testicles are organs that belong to the male reproductive system, in addition to that, they serve to produce hormones such as testosterones and sperm; These anatomical structures of men constitute one of the most important parts of the sexual system, since, in them, two fundamental substances are excreted, both for the functioning of the male organism, and for fertilization.
Function of the testicles
The testes are the most important glands in the reproductive system of men and have two basic functions, one exocrine and the other endocrine. In this sense, both functions are carried out in the seminiferous tubules of the testes, where their main cells are found. Taking this into account, it should be known that the testicles serve the following:
One of the functions of the testicles is exocrine, this refers to the production, storage and excretion of sperm, also known as spermatogenesis. Germ cells and Sertoli cells are involved in this process.
In this sense, the germ cells or spermatogonia are found in the seminiferous tubules of the testes and divide to make way for future sperm. For their part, Sertoli cells serve as a support for spermatogonia, in addition, they provide the nutrition they need.
The spermatogenic process begins at puberty, and begins with the duplication and maturation of spermatogonia cells, which transform into first-order spermatocytes; subsequently, these divide in a first meiosis and give way to second-order spermatocytes.
Finally, a second meiosis occurs and spermatids appear, which will mature into sperm. It should be noted that only 25% of the excreted sperm are capable of fertilizing the eggs.
The second function of the testes is endocrine, and is the production of the male sex hormone, testosterone; This is carried out in the seminiferous tubules, where the Leydig cells are found, which are responsible for producing testosterone.
To do this, the pituitary secretes hormones (gonadotropins) that travel to the testicles through the bloodstream, once there, they interact with the proteins found in the testicles and when metabolized, testosterone is produced.
It should be noted that testosterone is an important male hormone, which allows the development of sperm, in addition, to collaborate in different processes in men, such as sexual activity, the increase in muscle mass, the production of red blood cells, among others. .
Anatomy of the testicles
Once the functions and benefits of the testicles are known, it is necessary to describe some relevant aspects related to their anatomy. That is why the anatomy of the testicles must be known:
Location of the testicles
The testicles are in pairs, and are located in the lower part of the penis, protected by the scrotum; In this way, they adhere to the human body through the spermatic cord, however, only a small part of the testicles is attached to the body, therefore, their mobility is considerable.
Shape of the testicles
The testicles are ovoid-shaped, with approximate magnitudes of about 4 cm and a weight that ranges between 10 and 14 grams. Likewise, the testicles are covered by 3 types of membranes, which are: the vaginal, albuginea and vascular tunic.
The first one, the tunica vaginalis, is an extension of the peritoneum (abdomen membrane) and is made up of connective tissue and epithelial cells. For its part, the tunica albuginea is a fibrous membrane, which contains elastin, which allows to keep the testicles attached to the male sexual organ.
Finally, next to the tunica albuginea, is the vascular or vasculosa tunica, this is formed by the blood vessels of the testicles and protected by connective tissue.
Parts of the testicles
The testicles are ovoid structures, which are attached to the penis and are part of the male reproductive system. In them, there are various substances and structures that are responsible for the production of sperm and testosterones. Among these parts, the following may be mentioned:
They are small structures in the form of tubes, which are found inside the testicles, in them the spermatogenesis process (production and storage of sperm) takes place; likewise, spermatogonia (germ cells) are stored in the seminiferous tubules.
It should be noted that the seminiferous tubules occupy most of the testicles (between 85 and 90%), since they are the largest structures of the same. In turn, the endocrine function of the testes (hormone production) is carried out in these.
They are cells found in the seminiferous tubules, their main function is to serve as support, support and nutrition for the cells that carry out the endocrine and exocrine processes of the testes.
Likewise, Sertoli cells secrete substances that maintain the ideal testicular environment, so that the production of healthy and well-formed sperm and testosterone is possible.
Leydig cells are responsible for the production of testosterone, these round cells with abundant cytoplasm are controlled by the luteinizing hormone (LH), which allows the secretion of the male sex hormone.
It is necessary to mention the importance of Leydig cells in the male organism, this is due to the fact that thanks to them testosterone is produced, responsible for multiple physiological and metabolic processes that keep men’s bodies in balance.
The epididymis is a structure that connects the testes with the semen excretory vessels; It is in this connective tube where the sperm produced in the seminiferous tubules mature and acquire the ability to fertilize the ovules. In this way, once the sperm are germinated, they pass to the epididymis, where they remain until their maturation and subsequent excretion from the testicles, through semen, in the ejaculation process.
The scrotum or scrotal bag is the skin that covers and stores the testicles, its function is to maintain the ideal temperature for the production, conservation and maturation of sperm, which is a few degrees lower than body temperature (between 35 and 36⁰ C).
To fulfill this function, the scrotum is collected or expanded according to the temperature of the environment, which is why the testicles decrease in size in cold conditions and increase when they are in higher temperatures.
Diseases of the testicles
There are various diseases and injuries that can affect them, here are some of them:
It is a type of cancer that is located in the testicles, it can be asymptomatic (without symptoms), especially in the early stages of the disease; however, it can spread to other parts of the body, causing back, head and chest pain, with some difficulty in breathing. In this sense, one of the most common warning signs for men is the abnormal increase in the size of one of the testicles; however, this can be a symptom of other testicular diseases.
Inflammation of the epididymis is known as epididymitis, which is caused mainly by bacterial or sexual infections (such as chlamydia). In turn, this causes pain in the testicles, discharge from the penis and in some cases, blood in the semen. This type of testicular affections can occur in men of all ages, and must be treated in time to avoid complications, such as chronic epididymitis, orchitis and epididymo-orchitis.
Testicular torsion is an injury that occurs in the spermatic cord, the task of supporting the testicles within the scrotal bag. In this sense, the abnormal curvature of this cord can prevent the passage of blood to the testicles. For its part, the causes of this disease are related to malformations of the connective tissue of the scrotum, but also to injuries and other diseases developed in the testicles.
Orchitis is the name by which the inflammation of the testicles is called, this can be generated by infections caused by viruses or bacteria. One of the most common is parotitis or mumps, whose original virus is one of the most frequent causes of orchitis; Likewise, infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can trigger inflammation of the testicles.
Among the symptoms of this testicular condition are, dolos in the testicles, secretions in the penis, blood in the semen, pain when having sex, fever, inflammation of the scrotum, among others.
Conclusion: Are the testicles necessary?
The testicles fulfill a series of fundamental functions for the development of life, since in these, the growth of sperm occurs. As a result of this, it can be said that this is one of the most important areas for life in general, although it should be mentioned that a man can have a full life without them.
Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.