Prevalence of Undescended Testis and its Associated Factors among under-fives seen at Reproductive and Child Health Clinic in Ifakara, Tanzania

  • JC Bulemela
  • EN Ngibarwa
  • K Ramaiya
  • C Bizzari
Keywords: Cryptorchidism/undescended testis, underfives, Reproductive Child Health Clinic, small for gestation age.


Background: The diagnosis of undescended testis/cryptorchidism is missed and ignored by most clinicians following tendency of not performing genital examination in children unless asked by parents. The male sexual differentiation and development is important for the normal reproductive life span. Similarly, risk of carcinoma of testis will be prevented, if early diagnosis of undescended testis (UDT) is made. To aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of undescended testis, its characteristics and associated risk factors among children underfive.

Methods: This was a hospital-based cross sectional study that was conducted at the Reproductive and Child Health Clinic (RCHC) of the St. Francis Referral Hospital (SFRH) from October 2011 to May 2012. The district hospital is located in Ifakara, southeast Tanzania, a city of 49,528 people. Among the estimated 4500 under-five male children in the district attending the RCHC for routine services, 616 children were physically examined their genitalia after consent from their caretakers.

Results: The prevalence of the undescended testis (UDT) was 2.1% (13/616) with 12 children having unilateral UDT and one child with bilateral UDT. About 85% of families of recruited children own durable assets. A small proportion of children, 6.8% (49/616) were of low birth weight and 2.6% (16/616) were born prematurely. Among mothers who had preeclampsia, only 2.4% (1/41) of the children had UDT and none of eclamptic mothers‟ children had UDT. None of the children with UDT had exhibited evidence of birth asphyxia. In case of mothers who had been smoking or exposed to second hand smoking 5.4% (33/616) and those who have been binge drinking alcohol, 0.6% (4/616) of their children had UDT. Among mothers exposed to herbs during pregnancy only 3.2% (1/31) had UDT. None of the mothers had gestational diabetes or existing diabetes mellitus prior to conception.

Conclusion: The prevalence of UDT in this rural setting has a pattern similar to that observed in previous studies in other areas. Efforts should be done to do genital examination by all clinicians. The associated factors exist but no statistically significant association was found and a long term follow up study is needed.

Key words: Cryptorchidism/undescended testis, underfives, Reproductive Child Health Clinic, small for gestation age.


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eISSN: 0856-0714