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Varicocele – Everything you need to know

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Varicocele is a condition caused by Venous insufficiency, due to vein abnormalities in the scrotum, which is a pouch of skin around the testicles. There are single way valves in the veins that allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart. If there are malfunctioning valves in the veins blood circulation can become irregular and blood may start to pool. As a result, the scrotal veins may enlarge and get inflamed. This can cause excess pressure on the vein walls, stretching them. Swollen testicular veins referred to as a varicocele are very similar to varicose veins, spider veins or hemorrhoids.

Symptoms of Varicocele

Varicoceles are common on the left side, and this is generally attributed to the course of the testicular vein in the abdomen.

When blood pools in the veins, it causes excess heat, hypersensitivity, oxidation, hyper-hydration, toxin accumulation, and reduced nutrient exchange, and hypoxia resulting in many negative side effects. Pain, impaired fertility, scrotal sag and discomfort, swollen veins, or shrinkage of testicles are the associated side effects. It can also cause reduced testosterone level in men leading to lower sexual performance and decreased masculinity, increased estrogen, or a reduced muscle tone.

Most men with varicoceles normally maintain satisfactory testosterone levels throughout their lives without treatment. However, this condition can sometimes be a reason for enormously low testosterone levels, leading to further associated complications like diabetes, and osteoporosis.

There are few other symptoms which people with varicocele experience which include low sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. However, most men with varicoceles do not experience hormonal issues, pain, or discomfort and hence are not usually treated unless there are serious reasons for concern.

Does varicocele affect the testes?

Based on one theory, due to varicocele, as warm blood is carried from the abdomen down towards the testis in the scrotum it can affect the testis which optimally functions at around 3 degrees below body temperature. The warmer blood can affect the ability of testes to make sperms and testosterone. Another theory explains testis being exposed to various chemicals from the adrenal gland located at the top of the testicular vein.

When should a varicocele be treated?

Size of the varicocele, fertility goals getting affected, blood tests reflecting low testosterone levels, scrotal discomfort, or semen analysis (to assess the testicular functions) are few parameters that will decide if a person needs treatment for Varicocele.

When the testis appears to be unaffected by the varicocele, there are different thoughts on whether to treat the condition. Few doctors suggest to wait and observe the patients with varicoceles over time, perform semen analyses and / or blood tests continuously, and commence the treatment only if varicocele is proven to impair the testicular functions.

However, appropriate treatment for varicoceles is necessary in order to maximize a couple’s fertility potential by improving the sperm quality and this is necessary to avoid a decline in the testicular functions at a later stage.

Treatment of Varicoceles

Varicocele embolization, is a very advanced minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist. Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, it has a very fast recovery period and a high success rate.

You can call and ask for Interventional Radiology Department in our hospital or visit our Vascular Specialist at Avis to know more about the treatment options available.

However, every procedure has certain risks, and it is the experience and skill of the doctor that matters.

If you want to learn more about Embolization for varicocele, our interventional radiologist can guide you after reviewing your medical history and suggest if this is a suitable option for you.

Varicocele Treatment In Hyderabad

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