It's important to know how your body works, and be able to recognize when something isn't quite right. If something changes or doesn’t seem quite right, get checked by a qualified healthcare provider.
The easiest and fastest way to recognize a problem is to perform monthly testicular exams. When you know what your body looks and feels like when it’s healthy, you’ll know it’s time to get checked if you detect any change at all.
Testicular cancer and hernias
Although rare, testicular cancer is the second most common cancer seen during the teen years.
Hernias, on the other hand, are quite common in teens. A hernia is simply a weakness in the abdominal wall. Sometimes a piece of intestine can become trapped in the scrotum, cutting off the blood supply to the intestine. It can cause serious problems if the situation isn't quickly corrected.
Both conditions can produce lumps or bumps, which is why it’s important to perform testicular self-exams. If you notice anything unusual, get checked.
Once a baseline has been established, any changes in your body will be noticeable and easier to diagnose. If an abnormality exists, it can be treated. If a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is detected, it can be treated and prevented from spreading to others.
Using a condom doesn’t mean you can forget about sexual health. You still need to be vigilant and consistent about self-exams. Remember, many STD/STIs do not produce symptoms in women. By the time you notice a symptom, you may have already infected your partner(s).
If you notice a change to your genitals, such as:
Or if you notice a problem with the following:
... get checked.
Having a symptom doesn’t mean you have a disease. The symptoms are so many and varied, it’s hard to tell if, for example, you have a raging case of jock itch or... scabies. Get checked anyway.
Each year, one of every four sexually active teens will get a sexually transmitted infection. By age 25, half of all youth will have acquired one or more infections.
Bottom line? Pay attention to your body and how it works. Make sure a qualified healthcare provider is tracking your reproductive health. If something changes or doesn’t seem quite right, get checked. Above all, respect your body by protecting it from infection, disease and neglect.