What is it?

Having a condition that results in a collection of enlarged veins in the scrotum (the bag that holds a man’s testicles) is known as Varicocele. Varicocele affects the veins that travel up towards the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord contains the tube that carries sperm from the testes to the penis, lymphatic vessels, and nerves. A varicocele might affect the development of the testicles and may result in decreased sperm count leading to infertility.

Symptoms of Varicocele

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A varicocele often occurs on the left side of the scrotum and predominantly does not produce any signs or symptoms. However, possible indications might include :

Pain:     A stiff feeling down below which gets relieved when lying down.

Size:     A difference in the size of testicles might also be the result of this condition. Often the affected testicle may be smaller than the other one.

Infertility:   A varicocele might affect sperm count and reduce fertility but at the same time cannot be the only cause.

Causes of Varicocele?

There is no specific reason that causes this condition and doctors aren’t sure as to why it occurs. However, it usually takes place in teens because of their quick growth during puberty.  During development, the testicles need more blood than normal as they grow significantly in this stage and thereby any blockage might cause this condition.

Treatment :

Open Surgery : A typical surgery can help treat varicoceles. This is done under general anesthesia and will need several days/weeks for recovery.

Varicocele Embolization: Varicocele Embolization is a procedure that involves redirecting blood away from an enlarged vein in the scrotum. A radiologist uses a coil or special agents to block or embolize the vein. This can then improve the overall symptoms

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure usually takes a few hours and in general, you might expect the following :

As far as recovery is concerned it is a lot quicker than a typical surgery given a couple of days of rest.

Take away :

If you have symptoms of varicocele talk to your doctor and find out what treatment suits you best at the same time don’t panic since this is completely treatable provided the right method is used.