Hormone Therapy for Undescended Testicle
How It Works
HCG usually is injected into a muscle, such as in the buttocks, and may be given daily or weekly.
Why It Is Used
A doctor may suggest hCG shots to help decide whether surgery is needed. If the testicle can be made to descend using hormone therapy, surgery may not be needed. If the testicle does not descend—even temporarily—with hCG shots, it is not likely to do so on its own; and surgery may be needed.
HCG also stimulates enlargement of the testicles and growth of blood vessels to the testicles. Surgery may be easier when the testicle is larger and has an improved blood supply.
Some testicles may descend only part of the way or for a short time, when a boy is treated with hormones. But this may still be helpful, because the testicle may descend to a position that is easier to treat with surgery.
How Well It Works
Hormone therapy alone stimulates the testicles to complete their descent into the scrotum in less than 20 out of 100 cases. Reascent occurs in about 15 out of 100 males who are treated.1 Testicles move back out of the scrotum (reascend) more often when the testicle was originally in a high position, such as in the inguinal canal or abdomen.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine your child takes. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with the medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Side effects of this medicine include:
These side effects are normal responses to increased levels of testosterone in males. They usually fade away after treatment ends. In many cases, treatment with hCG does not last long enough for these side effects to appear.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
This medicine has caused the sexual organs of some boys to develop too quickly.
In some boys, an undescended testicle will descend during puberty without needing hCG. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of hCG treatment early on or waiting until your child has gone through puberty.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. If your child takes medicine as your doctor suggests, it will improve your child's health and may prevent future problems. If your child doesn't take the medicines properly, his health (and perhaps life) may be at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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