Is there an alternative to the ‘cough and drop’ test?

What is the reason behind the doctor giving a cough and drop test? Read on to learn how to check your balls and what a cough and drop test is used for.

Men’s testicles and the cough and drop test

Checking your testicles is a really important way to get in tune with your own body. It’s important to get to know what ‘normal’ feels like to you, so that if you do find a lump or anything unusual you can act on it. If you’re ever unsure about anything when it comes to your testicles, the best thing to do is speak to a doctor.

There’s a bit of a trend amongst men where they can be reluctant to go to the doctor, so it’s not surprising that many put off visits concerning their more intimate areas. But the fact is, your penis and balls are nothing special (sorry) and the doctor has seen hundreds of men’s testicles, if not thousands. If you’re unsure about something, it’s always best to play it safe and get it checked. It’s unlikely to be anything serious and once you know for sure you’ll feel a lot better.

How to check your balls

If you’re wondering how to check your balls at home, it’s really pretty easy. You hold your testicle between your thumb, index and middle fingers, then gently rotate it to feel for anything unusual. If you find something out of the ordinary or experience any pain, book a visit to your GP so they can put your mind at ease. Have a read of our guide to checking testicles here.

For more information about aching testicles or other testicle problems, see this article.

What is the cough and drop test?

You may have heard of the cough and drop test, where a doctor cups your testicles whilst asking you to cough. This is actually not about checking for testicular cancer but more about checking for other injuries. To learn more about the cough and drop test and why you should not be embarrassed about them, have a look at this question and answer from a member of The Mix’s community.

Is there an alternative to the ‘cough and drop’ test?

“What is the reason behind the doctor giving a cough and drop? I know it involves getting your testicles out to be checked, but wonder if there’s an alternative or less embarrassing method?:

To have a physical testicle examination can feel embarrassing, but be assured that a doctor does physical examinations routinely, you will only be examined if necessary and that you are in control and can stop the examination at any time.

If you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with it, have a think about your reasons for why you feel that way and let your doctor know about them as they are there to help you. The doctor should be able to explain the reasons for the examination and what to expect and make you feel as comfortable as possible.

What does the cough and drop test check for?

It might help to understand more about the ‘cough and drop’ test and why doctors use it. It is a standard way to check the health of your testicles. By asking you to cough while cupping your testicles, the doctor is checking for the possibility of a hernia – a lump which can occur from a weakness in the abdominal wall which pushes through to your scrotum. Hernias are rare in young men and if caught early can be fixed with a small operation. They’re also checking for problems with your variocele – the veins in your testicles.

Cough and drop also used to be used to check your testicles have correctly ‘dropped’ into place, but is rarely used now. Your balls descend into place from inside your body when you’re a baby.

Questions or worries about your body? Check out the rest of our body problems resources here.


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