Varicocele, also known as varicose veins of the testes, is a common condition that affects the scrotum and can lead to health issues such as infertility. It is estimated that up to 15% of all men aged 15 – 25 suffer from varicocele.
What Causes Varicocele?
A varicocele occurs when the veins in the scrotum become enlarged, resulting in reduced blood flow and increased pressure on the veins. This is most commonly due to an obstruction of the veins which prevent the blood from being properly drained. This obstruction is caused by valves within the veins becoming weakened or damaged, allowing them to remain closed and preventing normal blood flow.
Symptoms of Varicocele
The most common symptom of varicocele is a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the testes, which is often worsened by sitting or standing for long periods of time. Other symptoms may include a dull ache in the testicles, enlargement of the veins in the scrotum and a decrease in sperm counts and motility.
How Is Varicocele Treated?
The primary treatment for varicocele is surgery to repair the damaged veins and restore proper blood flow. Surgery is usually done under local anesthesia and typically takes between 30 minutes – 1 hour, depending on the severity of the condition. After the surgery, most men experience relief of symptoms, improved fertility and improved overall health.
In some mild cases of varicocele, medications or lifestyle changes may be sufficient to improve symptoms and fertility. This may include dietary modification to reduce strain and pressure on the veins, weight loss and an increase in activity to improve blood flow, and medications to manage swelling and discomfort.
Varicocele is a common condition that can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. It is important to seek medical attention for any symptoms of varicocele as early as possible to ensure proper treatment. In most cases, surgery is the most effective treatment for varicocele and can lead to improved fertility, symptom relief and improved overall health.