Saturday, March 6, 2010

TC Luoma - Protecting Your Balls


If you are easily offended, go away now. TC is not shy about being rude & crude. On the other hand, if you care about environmental pollutants that are emasculating men around the planet, then you might want to read this and/or share it with the men you know and love.


Protecting Your Balls

I don't know if you knew this about me, but my mom used to be a hockey player in Canada.

She got pregnant while she was a forward for the Saskatoon Beaver Nuzzlers after a tryst with famed Canadian hockey announcer, Walter "Golden Loon" Chevalier.

Oddly, she didn't even know she was pregnant until the championship game against the Thunder Bay Battlin' Lesbians. The scoreless game had gone into overtime and there were only 20 seconds left in the period when she stole the puck from the Lesbian defenseman and found herself in a breakaway situation.

Just as she was about to slap the puck towards the goalie, she felt a sudden, powerful contraction. Seconds later, a 9-pound, blue-eyed baby boy was spit onto the ice like a watermelon seed propelled from Dizzy Gillespie's lips.

Baby, bloody placenta, and puck skidded together across the ice like an out of control Ice Road Trucker past the glove of the outstretched goalie and into the net.

Despite being momentarily stunned, the goal judge flashed the red light and precipitated a celebration that rivaled that of the Canadian Olympic teams' gold medal victory last Sunday.

She named me TC on the spot, which is short for "Terrific Canadian." She held me over her head as if I were Lord Stanley's Cup and skated around the rink for all to adore.

The cheers faded to shocked murmurs a few moments later when the crowd began to notice something terribly wrong with baby TC's genitals. While the penis was large enough to serve as a reasonable facsimile of famed Montreal Canadian Guy Lafleur's stick, the nutsack fluttered in the breeze like the Canadian flags that festooned the outdoor rink.

Something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong.

One of baby TC's testicles appeared to be undescended, prompting the cruel Canadian sportscasters to call the infant TC, not for "Terrific Canadian," but for "Testicle Conspicuouslyabsent."

My mother's shame was so great that we had to move to the States. She got a job as a stripper and the only time she ever "played" hockey was on stage. She had this act where she'd "skate" around naked and body check the other dancers off the stage. She got great tips, but they didn't even make a dent in the occasional lawsuit.

Me? I grew up ridiculed by the other children. They called me "Uniball," "Cy-nut," and their favorite, "Vinnie Testi-lonely," after the NFL quarterback.

Oh, there were times when the handicap came in handy. For instance, when other kids put a baseball card in their spokes to make their bike sound like a motorcycle, all I had to do was slip off my underwear and wear loose shorts and the winds would buffet my partially empty nutsack and make pretty much the same noise.

Other than that, though, it was pretty miserable.

Balls Bigger Than the Average Bear

I eventually got the condition surgically repaired and it left me no worse for wear, psychologically, biologically, or even functionally. Still, I have a certain affinity for stories about testicles.

Case in point, a study was just printed in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that showed Finns had larger testicles than Danes. This wasn't the finding of some impromptu barroom bet between Scandinavian rivals Olli and Sven, but a genuine study involving 1,600 babies born between 1997 and 2001.

It seems that at birth, Finns have slightly larger testes than Danes, but in the subsequent 3 months, the Finnish testicles outpace the Danish testicles by a 3-fold greater increment in size.

The natural instinct would be to assume that Finns, because they have bigger balls, might also have higher Testosterone levels. While that may be true of the men in this study (more on that later), testicle size generally doesn't mean squat when it comes to Testosterone levels.

If it did, the relative testicle size of Asian men, white men, and black men, on average, would show differences in Testosterone levels (on average, Asians have the smallest testicles of the three races listed, with whites next, and blacks sitting atop the big-ball throne), but they don't.

Likewise, consider that adult males with only one testicle still possess normal Testosterone levels. If the size equals T levels were true, a one-testicled man would present with lower Testosterone and that isn't the case.

The size of the testicles is generally indicative of the number of Sertoli cells they contain. Sertoli cells are the specialized cells that produce sperm. If you have balls bigger than the average bear, it's more indicative of your baby-making ability than it is your aggressiveness, bravery, or muscle-building ability.

Keep in mind, though, that more sperm doesn't mean you shoot bigger loads, either. Your prostate determines the volume of your ejaculate and bigger balls generally just means your ejaculate has a higher concentration of wrigglers.

Of course, Testosterone, as produced by the Leydig cells in the testes, has a direct correlation on the size and functionality of the Sertoli cells. That's why taking exogenous Testosterone or steroids makes your nuts shrink. When you have excess amounts of androgenic hormone floating around your system, the pituitary doesn't bother to chemically signal the Leydig cells to produce Testosterone, thus "starving" the Sertoli cells.

Consequently, they stop producing sperm and they shrink. They take a vacation in the Hamptons, or set off to New England to see the leaves change. As a result, men who take large amounts of steroids or Testosterone have smallish nuts and are largely infertile, at least for the duration of the steroid cycle.

Once steroid administration stops, the machinery usually revs up again and the balls swell to their former grandeur.

Plop Ingrid's Ass on the Coffee Table

But let's get back to the study on the balls of Finns and Swedes. In addition to a significant difference in the "ellipsoidal volume" of their testicles, the study, along with some other related studies, unearthed some other troubling differences that may have some relevance to all males.

Forty percent of young Danish military recruits have suboptimal sperm levels. Seven percent of all live Danish births required "assisted" reproduction (which I presume means some sort of artificial insemination, as opposed to recruiting some Finnish stud to slide the Legos away and plop Ingrid's ass on the coffee table and screw the holy herrings out of her).

And, in a statistic near and dear to my heart, or my heart-on, about 9 percent of Danish schoolboys had an undescended testicle, as opposed to only 2.3 percent in Finland.

Oh, if only I'd been raised in Denmark. I'd have had an army of one-nutted blonde-haired companions with which to play reindeer games!

Anyhow, the main problem with having an undescended testicle, aside from the social stigma, is that it doubles the risk for testicular cancer. Case in point, testicular cancer rates among Danes are about three times higher than the Finnish or U.S. rates.

Even though it's a much bigger problem with Danes, consider that testicular cancer is the number one cancer affecting U.S. men.

But there's something else troubling in the statistics above. Remember how I said that testicle size doesn't correlate with Testosterone production? Well, it doesn't, normally, but when you look at the Danish birth rates, you see something slightly contradictory and hugely troubling.

In the Danes, something clearly disrupted their hormone levels in the womb. A deficiency in Testosterone, or some disruption in the way hormones bind with receptors, affected the development of their testicles.

And the problem might have continued once they were out of the womb, resulting in adults with smaller sperm counts and possibly lower Testosterone levels, which might explain the Danes' inexplicable love affair with those Legos.

Too bad these studies didn't also measure Testosterone levels; that might have given us some additional insights, but I strongly suspect that their T levels are significantly lower than that of their Finnish or American counterparts.

The educated guess is the developmental problems had environmental origins, and indeed, Danish epidemiologists have found industrial chemicals like polychlorinated biphenols, questionable flame-retardants, dioxins, biphenols, and pesticides in the land, food, and water.

Woe be to the fetus or the just-born baby if he's exposed to these chemicals. During the first 3-4 months of a boy's life, he enters into what's been called "mini puberty" where Testosterone levels rise to approximately half of what they might be at real puberty. Oddly enough, this phase is unique to primates, and its primary role is increasing the number of the aforementioned Sertoli cells and to increase the growth rate of the penis.

Interfere with this period, and you see a cascade of developmental effects that will affect/plague the male for the rest of his life.

American infants are plagued by a similar set of androgenic demons in the form of phthalates (a chemical found in plastics), PFOS and PFOA (compounds used to make nonstick coatings), and all kinds of other hormone disrupters found in hairsprays, room fresheners, plastic food wrappings, insecticides, and detergents.

The number is growing, too. Each year, about 2,000 new chemicals are introduced to the market, and the majority don't go through even the simplest tests to determine toxicity.

What might be even more troubling is that as many as one third of all infants in the U.S. are now fed soy milk formula. As most readers of this site know, soy milk contains high levels of plant estrogens, and it's well known that these chemicals can suppress FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and subsequently diminish Testosterone production during "mini puberty."

While there's no definitive proof of this specific affect among humans, experiments with marmoset monkeys have shown that soy formula definitely affects Testosterone production during mini puberty and might have long-term consequences for the testis, resulting in adults with impaired fertility and poorly defined secondary male characteristics.

Protecting Your Balls

Lest you think that the chemicals listed are only of concern to developing fetuses, you're fooling yourself. These industrial hormonal disruptors, in addition to possibly contributing to the development of different types of cancer, can also lead to infertility, higher body fat, impaired neural function, and either lower Testosterone levels or a diminished response to Testosterone in adults, too.

Similarly, adult males should probably avoid soy milk or soy products as they've been shown to damage or kill testicular cells, in addition to reducing Testosterone levels.

Here are a few things you can do to safeguard you and Junior from chemicals:

While I've concentrated on the chemical hazards faced by your balls, I think I should also address some non-environmental dangers that might affect not only your sperm count, but also your testicular health in general, including Testosterone production.

If you're like me, you can't ride a bike or spin for 15 minutes without feeling like your schlong and nutsack have gone to sleep. The fact is, putting all that weight on your taint constricts the blood and nerve impulses, causing that unpleasant numb feeling.

While it usually goes away in a few minutes, repeated exposure to this kind of abuse might lead to erectile dysfunction and an inflamed prostate. While this doesn't usually directly affect your testicles, riding or spinning can reduce your sperm count and give you the inexplicable urge to cover yourself in weird-looking Spandex when you ride.

Coincidentally, those Spandex bike shorts can also be problematic as entombing your balls in polyurethane and smashing them against your body causes a dramatic increase in ball temperature, and the higher the body temp, the lower the sperm count.

(And while fertility lore has often recommended that men wear boxers instead of briefs to increase fertility, it really doesn't seem to matter much either way. However, wearing looser, breathable clothes in general might increase sperm count.)

If you're going to ride a bike, get one of those seats with a hole in it, or at least one with a split in it to distribute the load more evenly.

Drinking, to no one's surprise, has a detrimental effect on Testosterone levels too, along with decreasing sperm count in general. And If your drinking (or eating) makes you fat, you also produce more aromatase enzyme, which converts some of the Testosterone in your body to estrogen.

In short, avoid as many environmental chemicals as you can, ditch the soy milk (especially for Junior), try not to constrict, mash, or bake your nuts, and keep the partying to a respectable minimum.

Aside from affecting your Testosterone levels, you sure wouldn't want to give birth to any one-nutted children or, God forbid, a kid who'd feel at home in the locker room with a bunch of Danes.

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