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Urology/testicular size increase


QUESTION: There is a herb which is said to increase testosterone which in turn is claimed to increase the size of the testis and penis. I'm curious to know your view on this. Do you have the ability to determine whether there is any validity to this claim? What would you say to those that have in fact experienced an increase in testicular size?  Is it possible?

By the way, you told me previously that the pain from the testicles cannot radiate downwards but only up, since they originate from the kidneys. But this does not correlate with my experience. The pain has been felt in the inner thighs as well as even in the foot. It seems to radiate downwards. This leads me to believe that there could be hidden nerves or paths which allow the pain to be felt in these areas. How else can you explain this?

could the prostate cause unilateral testicular pain?
could the cause of it even be a problem in the kidneys?



Any herb that actually increased testosterone level would tend to DECREASE testicular size as the testicles would tend to be less active and the pituitary hormones that stimulate the testicles would also diminish as the testosterone levels rose.

The limitation to size of the testes and penis are the fascial layers that cover them.  There is no credible evidence of any way to increase the size of these layers by any oral agent.  If such evidence is available, I am not aware of it.

As far as pain is concerned, the nerves from the testicles do travel only upwards.  There can be some irritation transmitted to crossing nerves such as the ilioinguinal nerve that can produce discomfort in the upper thigh but this is only indirect.

There is no known renal problem that would cause testicular pain althougth renal colic or kidney stone pain can travel to the groin.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: you are talking about adding testosterone into the body causing the testicle to be less active. What I am talking about is a situation where the herb causes the testicle to produce more testosterone. It does this by stopping the feedback mechanism from being active therefore the levels continue to rise. So the testicles think that more testosterone is needed and therefore in order to meet the demand it grows bigger. Is there any credibility here?

and if the testicles themselves were growing why shouldnt the fascial layers stretch to accommodate this growth?
couldnt the testicle swell and therefore appear bigger even if the fascial layers did not get bigger? Its not a solid enclosure is it?

How do you propose to control a persons libido if you do not believe in the effectiveness of herbs?


I am not aware of any herb that does what you describe.  Blocking the feedback mechanism sounds reasonable, but this could have an impact on pituitary hormones and other side effects.  When we block the feedback mechanism with medications, as in some types of cancers, the testosterone levels drop substantially.  Without more data, I have to be dubious about the process you described.

The fascial layers of the corpora (penis) and testis (tunical albuginea) don't stretch.  They can tear or rupture, but they don't typically stretch in adults.  When the testicle swells, it's usually the outer layers that enlarge and not the actual testis for the reason mentioned.

I do not believe in the effectiveness of herbs to raise testosterone because I have yet to see definitive, reproducible studies from reliable, independent sources that demonstrate effectiveness.  And I am worried that if someday such an herb is found, it could easily be misused causing damage to the male genitalia, promoting prostate cancer, etc.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: how does raising testosterone damage the genitals? does raising libido cause any harm?

by the way how should i know whether a herb is safe or not? even if there are many studies on them, it can be difficult for the public who have no medical knowledge to understand how to interpret the studies. There may even be conflicting studies. Many studies are not on humans but on mice. There may be questionable methods used in the study. It could be that studies alone are no guarantee at all of their safety. so it seems there is always equal risk with either prescription drug or herbal remedy.

what about men who claim that there has been an obvious increase in testicular size due to the use of herbal medicine. How could it be possible? Are you saying such claims are lies?


Raising testosterone levels through supplementation reduces the need for the testicles to make testosterone so the leydig cells in the testes stop working.  This can result in shrinkage of the testes over time.

As far as knowing if an herb is safe or not, you are pretty much on your own.  Those that are used as medicines to try and treat various medical disorders may have some testing, but this is often inadequate, incomplete or unreliable.  Essentially, there is no way to be sure if any herb is safe unless it has been adequately tested.

For those who have used such an herb and claim no ill effects, that may be possible but is no guarantee.  Maybe they took a lower dose or haven't taken it long enough.  Are you willing to take that risk?


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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