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Thread: Radiation effects on testicles

  1. #1

    Radiation effects on testicles

    Couple years back I had anal cancer which was treated with 30 sessions of radiation and chemo. There was no attempt to shield my testicles for the daily cat scan and radiation treatment. The radiation doctor never discussed anything about potential side effects.

    Following treatment, my testicles shrunk 50%, my testosterone dropped to 50 (now on shots), I need tri-mix to get an erection and my semen, when I can even reach ejaculation, is only a few drops of completely clear liquid.

    All that combined, it seems fairly obvious that my testicles are toast. They do ache (5-6 on pain scale) from time to time which is very uncomfortable and really annoying, but also a sign they are not completely dead.

    Would be interested to hear if someone else has had the same experience. And if they had considered, "why keep them, if they're not doing anything but causing me discomfort."

  2. #2
    110% Top, call me "SIR" TopManFL's Avatar
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    Re: Radiation effects on testicles

    Hey @blueboy465,

    Sorry to hear about your anal cancer. I'm glad it was caught in time. There are few if any symptoms of either anal or colon cancer and only routine screening can find it early.

    With radiation to that area, there are many structures nearby, the prostate, the seminal vessels (which make 90 to 95% of semen), the pelvic floor muscles, the bladder, the penis and the testicles. Further, there are many nerves in that very concentrated area.

    Your ED is possibly a result of side effect damage to the nerves that cause an erection. Yes, having low T can cause ED as well. So, it could be the low T or maybe a combination of both. With testosterone injections, it's most likely not low T.

    As to the volume of your ejaculations, damage to the seminal vessels from the radiation is the likely cause. The testicles only make about 5% of semen. Even though the average ejaculation contains up to half a million sperm, the prostate and the seminal vessels make the fluid in which that sperm swims.

    As to the testicular pain you are feeling. The damage to your testicles from the radiation could be causing the pain. Two things strike me as important from your description: 1. That your testicles are half there size and 2. that the pain isn't constant.

    1. That your testicles have shrunk by half can be a result of the testosterone replacement therapy. One of the most common side effects of either testosterone injections or Androgel is a decrease in the size of the testicles.

    2. The pain you are experiencing isn't constant. Pelvic floor muscles in spasm can cause severe pain that radiates into the scrotum and testicles. The pain can be anything from a dull ache like sitting on a golf ball (which mimics prostate pain) or a debilitating pain that can put a man in the fetal position screaming for help. A pelvic floor muscle spasm can also get worse after a hard bowel movement or holding in a liquid bowel movement for too long. Stress on those muscles can cause a sudden onset of acute pain in addition to the chronic pain you're feeling.

    You are not crazy, the pain, lack of ejaculate, shrunken testicles are all real.

    My advice is to list your problems on a piece of paper. Number them and use one sentence to describe what's happening. See a Urologist and put the paper on the exam table. I use a sharpie and try to keep the list to only five. Doctors appreciate it because it defines the scope of the visit.

    Doing a few studies to see what is causing the pain would be prudent. In the end, it might be your testicles. However, it might be something else.

    You deserve to be out of pain and whatever the treatment, it is worth working with a doctor to find the problem and fix it.

  3. #3

    Re: Radiation effects on testicles

    TopManFL, thank you, really insightful and very helpful. As you laid it out point by point it gives me a new perspective. When it's all going on at once it is overwhelming.

    But your advise is sound and has centered me again. My other frustration is my GP has no interest in dealing with these issues and has blown me off, so I do need to find a Urologist and do as you suggest with the list.

    Well worth the time to post to get this response. Many thanks again, BlueBoy465

  4. #4

    Re: Radiation effects on testicles

    Drs like to blow off anything they don t understand instead of admitting they don t know how to help you.

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