The scrotum is a normal part of the male reproductive system. Unlike many organs in the body, this thin skin sac is located externally. Within the scrotum, there are two main compartments. Each of these two compartments contains a single testes and an epididymides. Within the testes, sperm is produced before it is stored within the epididymides.
You can find the scrotum on the male body between the penis and the anus. On the skin of the scrotum, there are many sebaceous and sweat glands in addition to a unique pigment coloring. To learn more about the function of the scrotum and its structure, read on.
The Function of the Scrotum
The scrotum performs the key role of holding the testes, blood vessels, nerves and the epididymides. Since sperm must be held at a constant temperature, the scrotum functions to keep the testes at a constant level of warmth.
Keeping Sperm Warm
One of the main functions of the scrotum is to make sure that sperm remains at the right temperature. Ideally, the scrotum should be at 95 to 96.9 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature of the testes is warmer than this, it causes sperm counts to drop. Biologists think that, due to this temperature requirement, controlling sperm temperature is the main function of the scrotum.
Amazingly, the scrotum is able to change the temperature of the sperm by actually expanding and shrinking in size. If the testicles are too warm, the scrotum stretches out so that the testes are farther from their main heat source, the abdomen. When the testes cool off too much, the scrotum shrinks so that the testes move closer to the main part of the body. In addition to moving the testes closer or farther from the heat source, the stretching of the scrotum allows a larger surface area so that heat can easily dissipate.
Protecting the Testes and Allowing Sperm to Mature
Other than controlling temperature, the scrotum is responsible for protecting the testes and making sure that sperm are fully mature before they are discharged. If the testes were located in the abdomen instead of externally in the scrotum, the regular pressure changes would cause sperm to empty before they could mature. Since the scrotum allows the sperm to be protected and outside of the abdominal cavity, it ensures that the sperm can mature properly before they are needed.