What is Varicocele?
The scrotum contains veins that carry away the blood supply after the testicle is nourished. A varicocele occurs as an enlargement of these veins that surrounds the scrotum. This condition is very common among young men and can potentially cause infertility.
Varicocele Signs and Symptoms
Most cases of varicocele develop gradually over time since puberty and don’t produce any signs or symptoms. Occasionally, varicocele might cause some mild pain or discomfort that usually gets worse over the course of a day and increases during physical activity or after standing for a long time.
On the other hand, varicocele might be noticed as an increasing enlargement and swelling of the testicle, and sometimes, it’s described as a “bag of worms” sensation, mostly in the left testicle.
Varicocele Common Causes
There is no definitive cause known for varicocele. However, experts believe that the reason why varicocele is formed is similar to the formation of varicose veins in other parts of the body, which occurs after the valves inside the veins that are responsible for making your blood flow properly, become insufficient and eventually dilate. The abnormal blood flow might cause some damage to the testicle, resulting in worsening fertility in some cases.
In case you show any sign or symptoms related to varicocele or if you have some trouble conceiving, your doctor will conduct a direct physical exam of your testicles; looking after the typical signs of varicocele which mostly include some nontender mass in the upper part of your testicle, that has the sensation of a “bag of worms”.
Additionally, in case the physical exam is not conclusive, your doctor might order some other imaging tests like a scrotal ultrasound, in order to determine the presence of the veins enlargement and to discharge any other possible cause for your symptoms.
Most cases of varicocele don’t require any additional treatment since many men suffering from varicocele are able to conceive and have no pain at all. However, in case your varicocele is causing you too much pain or infertility, your doctor might offer you a surgical technique to repair your condition.
Surgery to treat varicocele involves sealing off the affected vein to redirect the blood flow into some other normal veins, usually the groin’s veins. The surgery can be done through an open surgery or a laparoscopic technique, depending on the severity of your case and medical condition. Both techniques have minimal risk and the recovery time quick.