So, it’s pretty much been a full year from the UK entering lockdown. In that time, have you picked up a new talent or learned a hobby you were always putting off? Did you finally learn to play the guitar (or at least advance beyond Wonderwall)? Do you have a majestic beard you now need to take care of? Or have you just sat about on the sofa scratching your bits while flicking through Netflix every evening?
Actually, have you had a good check of your bits? Just because it isn’t Movember, it doesn’t mean you should neglect getting to know your bits and how to check them. Every man should know to carry out a self-check on themselves. And be able to tell their mates how to do the same. With testicular cancer the most common cancer in men under 50. And one of the most treatable, you really should know how to assess your bits.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about if you’re reading this and realise you wouldn’t know where to start with a self-check. It is easy to do, and more importantly, it is nothing to feel embarrassed about. You should be confident and proud that you know what to look for down there and how to do it.
That’s why I’m about to walk you through how to check yourself. Thanks to the folks at Bawbags (get it?), here is how you can carry out a self-assessment on your testicles and what to look out for.
Step 1 – Make an appointment with yourself
Reading this on your phone or have it beside you? Lift it right now and set a monthly reminder to check yourself. Not only will it keep you on top of things, but it will also get you familiar with the feel of your testicles in your hands, i.e. if you are doing it regularly, you will notice any changes over time.
Step 2 – Take a shower
Know that feeling when you jump in a cold pool or the sea. And it feels like everything goes back up inside? Well, it helps to have the opposite when checking yourself. If you take a shower or bath before checking, the warm water will relax the skin and make it easier to move around and feel.
Step 3 – Take your time & be gentle
If you were to take a boiled egg in your hand, would you grip it tight and squeeze it? I didn’t think so! All you need to do is hold one ball at a time and feel around with your thumb and index finger – a bit like holding a pen in your hand. You aren’t actually cupping the ball, but more rotating your fingers around it.
Step 4 – You will feel one prominent lump
Your first time checking, you may panic when you move to check the back of the ball and feel a lump coming up. That’s just your epididymis – the tube which carries sperm. Some men find it quite sensitive, especially if one ball hangs lower than the other (yep, look in a mirror when checking yourself, and you might have one hanging lower). It’s nothing to worry about, but if you frequently have sensitivity around your epididymis, you may have an infection.
Step 5 – Know what to be wary of
So you are getting familiar with feeling your bits, although you have nothing to compare them to. So what are you looking for? If you notice a lump on the front side, one ball is much bigger or firmer, or your testicles are painful to touch, they’re all signs to see a doctor.
In most cases, it will be something minor, like an infection or bruising but never ignore it. Go and get yourself checked out by your GP, who will know if there is anything to be concerned about.
Lending support to your bits!
There you have it. You now know how to check your bits.
Once again, thanks to Bawbags for the information on how to check yourself. If you’ve been living it up in loungewear, and your shopping basket is more likely to have tracky bottoms and boxers than something for going out, do some good and buy a pair of Bawbags. They have some funky fitbaw boxers at https://bawbags.com/collections/fitbaw-baws. Proceeds from every purchase are donated to top cancer charities like the Teenage Cancer Trust.
And if you’ve made a resolution to take better care of yourself this year, which I think is something we all need, make sure you check out the latest health articles from The Beard Mag for advice on working out, improving your mental health, and keeping your eating habits in check.