Every boy becomes a man sooner than you can imagine. This process starts at a fairly early stage in the boy’s life. A boy’s pre-teen period can be quite a complex time; with so many changes happening in the boy’s body – and, almost all of them at the same range of time – between 9 and 15 years of the boy’s age. Balls-dropping is a term used to refer a boy’s puberty.
Also, literally speaking – dropping of balls may also refer to the time by which testicles (balls) of your baby boy drop into his scrotal bags. Some infant-boys though may have the balls high up the abdomen. If the balls do not enter into scrotal bags by the time your baby boy is 9 months old, it needs to be looked into.
A boy’s puberty – “Dropping of balls”
Drop of balls is a phrase widely used to refer to a boy’s ability to make sperm, as a result of his reaching puberty. In short, this phrase is used to denote the beginning of a boy’s puberty. The scrotum is a bag found at the rear side of your penis. It is these bags that hold your testicles. When you have reached puberty, your balls gain weight. Such weight gain makes your balls to hang slightly lower than their earlier level.
A boy reaching puberty also means his body has begun producing a hormone called testosterone. This hormone is widely called as the male sex hormone; it helps make a few sexual changes in your body. The common changes include development of muscles, deepening of your voice, enlargement (to a milder extent) of your penis, growing of hair around and above your penis (as well as on the scrotal bags), growth of facial hair including a beard, etc.
Balls versus age – From a boy’s puberty point of view
The process of puberty among boys starts while they reach 9 or 10 years. For some, it can start at their late teens. The average age however remains between 12 to 14 years. Soon after start, it usually takes nearly 5 to 6 years to complete the entire puberty process. This maturity process includes your voice taking a lower pitch (commonly referred as, breaking of voice), enlargement of Adam’s apple, growth of hair in armpits, increase in weight and height, etc. You may also develop acne and may also need to start shaving your facial hair. Your armpits may start sweating frequently and your feet might begin to smell. As a related development, your penis may get hardened at unexpected, awkward moments.
In essence, a boy becomes a man and becomes capable of having children of his own. Of course, younger males have a smaller scrotum; their balls are smaller, accordingly. Also, for younger males, scrotal bags are found drawn towards their body. Puberty also marks a beginning of the growth of balls. Production of sperm is a distinctive sign to indicate that your balls are getting bigger. As the boy becomes an adult, his scrotal bags start hanging and cease to be closer to your body. In general, your balls are found to do their job well – producing sperm – while they are at a lesser temperature than the other parts of your body. Balls move a bit away from your body for this reason; i.e., to keep a distance so that balls are cooler than body’s temperature.
The various stages of balls dropping – i.e., boy’s puberty
The different puberty stages are measured by an index called Tanner scale. Stage 1 occurs when the boy is lesser than 9 years old. Here, no physical changes are observed. All changes occur deep inside the boy’s body. Your boy’s brain tells his body to get ready for the changes. A few hormones are released – these are GnRH, LH and FSH hormones. Volume of your boy’s balls remains at 4 ml or less.
Stage 2 is the period usually observed between 9 and 11 years of your boy’s age. His balls gain size – from 4 ml and can reach 8 ml or slightly more. Hair growth is seen near the penis.
Stage 3 is common between 11 to 12.5-years of the boy’s age. Hair in the pubic region gets thick; voice takes a deep tone and your boy’s height increases. His balls grow big in size and possess a volume of upto even 12 ml or more.
Stage 4 is between 12.5 to 14-years of his age. Here, his balls start making sperm while his penis and scrotal bags remain in an enlargement phase. His scrotum gets darker and hair growth is intense in the pubic triangle as well as armpits. Volume of his balls can reach upto 20 ml and acne or pimples may erupt from his face.
The last level – stage 5 – occurs when the boy is aged more than 14 years. Here, hair in the pubic triangle reaches its maximum growth potential. His penis, balls and scrotum attain the size of a well-grown adult. The boy’s rate of growth – i.e., height – may decelerate to some extent. Volume of balls can reach beyond 20 ml. At this stage, young men may need to start shaving off their facial hair.
Do you have to see a doctor during the time of your puberty?
Let us say you are 15 years of age and you have not been visiting your doctor for some time; you need not have to see a doctor or worry about balls getting dropped. There are a lot of signs all around you to tell you that you are reaching (or, has already reached) puberty. Instead of seeing a doctor, you can check the size of your balls on your own. The distinctive sign of big sized balls is unmistakable. It only confirms that you have attained or in the midst of your puberty.
This whole process is referred as balls dropping. As soon as your balls drop, you may find your penis to be of the same size as earlier. But, this is not a matter of great worry or concern. Your penis will soon get bigger to match with the fairly big sized, hanging balls safely pocketed in your scrotal bags.
But if you are quite busy (boys can get very busy, and it is natural of them), it is quite likely that you would miss to look for this distinct sign. But, no problems there! The other changes happening to your body will make you notice them for sure. As mentioned, the other changes are hair formation on your face and near / around your penis, deepening of voice, formation of muscles, etc. However, if you do not see hair near the penis by the time you have reached 16 years of age, it is likely that your puberty is getting delayed. It is time to see a doctor.
Average age for your balls to descend
This is very different from a boy’s puberty. A boy’s balls (testicles) are supposed to get into his scrotum right from the time of his birth. It is a natural process for the balls to descend and get into the scrotal bags.
Balls actually get shaped-up while you are in your mother’s womb. A few weeks prior to your birth – usually in week # 28 – the balls enter into the scrotum. Balls descend through the holes of your abdomen and end their journey down once they reach their respective scrotal bags. This descending process may take some weeks – even as you are still in your mother’s womb – to get completed. In almost all male babies, the balls are seen descended and found intact inside their scrotal bags at least 10 to 12 weeks from the time of delivery.
But, what if a baby-boy’s balls have not descended?
In general, balls do not drop; they only descend inside the scrotal bags either a few weeks ahead or soon after your birth. If your male child does not have his balls descending into his scrotal bags, this is a medical condition. This condition needs to be corrected through a surgical procedure. But how long does one need to wait before opting for a surgery? If your boy’s balls have not dropped into scrotum by the age of five, it is time to opt for a treatment to correct this.
So, when your newly born boy is taken for a physical examination, his doctor will naturally check his balls. The doctor will ensure to check if the balls have descended inside the scrotum. But, some baby-boys may not have their balls descended down into the scrotal bags. In such cases, his doctor will advise you to wait for at about 6 or 9 months. Even after 9 months if your boy’s balls remain away from his scrotum, a urologist (a specialist in urinary tract related medical conditions including penis, urethra, urinary bladder, etc.) needs to be consulted.
It is most likely that the balls are found in the upper part of the abdomen. The exact position of the balls is detected with a help of an endoscopy or an ultrasound scan. Once detected, a procedure is done to bring the balls inside the scrotal bags. This procedure is called orchiopexy. This is done to make balls to get inside the scrotal bags. If left without proper treatment, children may have problems such as infertility or can develop hernias. The risks of developing cancers are also pronounced.
In sum, if your son is going through his puberty, you may need to have an open discussion with him about his ball dropping period. Never attempt to make jokes or look down at the changes happening to his body. The young adult may need a lot of privacy; recognize this need and also listen to his moods to help him become a man to face the world with confidence.
On the other hand, if your male-child’s balls have not yet descended into his scrotum, this becomes a medical condition. This condition is corrected through a surgery. You may need to wait for your boy to reach five years of age. If his balls have not gotten into his scrotum by then, you may need to consul a qualified urologist to correct this condition.