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and irritation of the urethra to those other organs most intimately
connected with the function of generation are still more dreadful in
themselves, and far more serious in their consequences. The irritation
extends into the ejaculatory ducts, thence backward into the seminal
vesicles, and downward through the vasa deferentia to the testes. These
organs become unnaturally excited, and their activity is increased.
The testicles form an abnormal amount of spermatozoa; the seminal
vesicles secrete their peculiar fluid too freely. From these two
sources combined, the vesicles become loaded with seminal fluid, and
this condition gives rise to a great increase of sexual excitement.
In cases of long standing, the irritation of the urethra at the openings
of the ejaculatory ducts, a point just in front of the bladder, advances
to inflammation and ulceration. Here is now established a permanent
source of irritation, by which the morbid activity of the testes and
seminal vesicles is kept up and continually increased. This condition
is indicated by frequent twitchings of the ejaculatory and compressor
muscles in the perineum. It is also indicated by a burning sensation
at the root of the penis after urination, which, in severe cases,
amounts to very serious pain.
_Atrophy, or Wasting of the Testes_.--The first result of the
irritation communicated to the testes, is, as already remarked,
increased activity; but this is attended by swelling in some cases,
more or less pain, tenderness, and, after a time, diminution in size.
This degenerative process likewise affects the seminal fluid, which
becomes more or less deteriorated and incapable of producing healthy
offspring, even while it retains the power of fecundating the ovum,
which it also ultimately loses if the disease is not checked by proper
treatment, when the individual becomes hopelessly impotent, a happy
result for the race, for it prevents the possibility of his imparting
to another being his debilitated constitution.
_Varicocele_.--This morbid condition consists in a varicose state of
the spermatic veins. It is almost always found upon the left side, owing
to an anatomical peculiarity of the spermatic vein of that side. It
has been supposed to be a result of masturbation and its effects, but
is certainly caused otherwise in many cases. It is not infrequently
found in these patients; but Prof. Bartholow contends that even in such
cases we should "consider its presence, in general, as accidental."
Atrophy of the left testicle is often produced by the pressure of the
distended veins; but this does not produce impotence. It occasionally
occurs simultaneously on both sides, and greatly aggravates the effects
of self-abuse, if it is not itself an effect of the vice.
Nocturnal Emissions.--Seminal emissions during sleep, usually
accompanied by erotic dreams, are known as nocturnal pollutions or
emissions, and are often called _spermatorrhoea_, though there is some
disagreement respecting the use of the latter term. Its most proper
use is when applied to the entire group of symptoms which accompany
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