What is varicocele? What are its symptoms, causes, and its treatment options?

What is varicocele? What are its symptoms, causes, and its treatment options?

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    WHAT IS VARICOCELE?

    Varicocele is the condition in which the veins become enlarged inside the scrotum. It is one of the common reasons behind male infertility. For every 100 male, around 10 to 15 men suffer from this condition. Although these problems are harmless, still you need to consult the doctor to get the treatment started on time. To some extent, there are chances that this condition can lead to low sperm count which eventually makes it difficult for you to conceive.

    WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF VARICOCELE?

    Although the problem does not lead to any symptoms, still this issue is a matter of concern. In some cases, this issue can lead to infertility and during puberty, it is possible that the testicle growth slows down. Usually, the problem is not diagnosed until the male partner does not get the semene analysis as they are having problems conceiving. Some of the possible signs and symptoms are:

    • Following an exercise regime, the person can experience heaviness and dull aches.

    • The scrotum contains mass or swelling which is often described as a bundle of noodles.

    • Either one of the testicle is smaller than the other.

    DO YOU KNOW?

    The risk of varicocele increases when you are overweight.

    WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF VARICOCELE?

    Well! There are various causes for this condition like some of them are:

    • Valves veins are not working or might be missing
    • When the blood flow is not proper, then the blood may start collecting in the veins.
    • In case, the blood starts coming back to the veins then there is a risk of swelling which can also lead to pain.

    HOW IS A VARICOCELE DIAGNOSED?

    Usually, the physical examination can point out the problem. To do the test, the doctor is going to ask you to stand up and then he will himself examine the scrotum. While you are bearing down, the varicocele may get big which is visible. In case, you are lying in the horizontal position then also it is visible. Sometimes, an ultrasound can tell about this condition.

    DO YOU KNOW?

    • 4 in 10 men tested for infertility have varicocele and reduced sperm motility.
    • 8 out of 10 men have varicocele but they do not have fertility issues.

    HOW DOES VARICOCELE RESULT IN INFERTILITY?

    With this condition, it is possible that men experience low sperm count along with:

    • DNA damaged sperm chances are increases
    • Poor sperm Motility (Movement)
    • Poor sperm shape (Morphology)

    The exact reason for infertility due to this is not clear but it is believed that excess scrotal heat can damage the sperm, increased toxin levels will lead to poor semen health, and sometimes the testicles are not able to get the oxygen.

    TREATMENT

    In most cases, the varicoceles are not treated. The treatment is given to the male who is diagnosed with:

    • Excess pain
    • Fertility issue (problem getting pregnant)
    • Abnormal semen analysis
    • Left testicle growth is slower as compared to the right one.

    For managing the pain, the doctor can suggest some pain killers. In case, the severity of the condition is in excess then surgery can be suggested. Some of the additional treatment options are:

    • Laparoscopic varicocelectomy
    • Microsurgical varicocelectomy
    • Percutaneous embolization treatment/Radiologic ablation

    WRAP UP!

    Around 2/3rd of the patients can notice the improvement in semen health. Usually, the semen health to get back to normal will take around 2 to 4 months.

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