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Synopsis

Varicocele occurs when veins in the scrotum swell and get larger. Read more to know about what is varicocele symptoms, causes and treatment at Indira IVF.

What is a Varicocele?

Let’s first understand the varicocele meaning. The scrotum is a skin-covered pouch in which the male testicles are placed. It also holds the arteries and veins that carry blood to the reproductive organs. A varicocele develops when blood from the testicles collects in the veins instead of properly flowing out of the scrotum.

The Pampiniform plexus is the name of these veins. Ten to fifteen males out of every hundred can develop varicocele. This can be found in 15% of mature males and 35% of men with primary infertility. Varicocele is more prevalent in males between the ages of 15 and 25.

Varicoceles frequently come during adolescence and progress over time. On the left side of the scrotum, varicoceles seem to be more prevalent. Though uncommon, varicoceles can also occur simultaneously on both sides. It should be painless; however, it might be irritating or uncomfortable for males. It may also affect your fertility or cause your testicles to shrink. When these veins grow swollen, as in varicocele, overheating of the testes can reduce sperm production and sperm count, resulting in reduced fertility potential. To deal with these issues, various varicocele treatments are available.

Varicocele Causes

Each testicle is supported by a spermatic cord. The veins, arteries, and nerves that supply these glands are also found in the cords. Blood flows from the testicles to the scrotum through healthy veins in the scrotum, where one-way valves redirect the blood back to the heart. Sometimes the blood doesn't flow through the veins as it should and starts to accumulate there, causing the vein to expand. Additionally, the interconnections between the major veins that travel from the testicles to the heart are different on the left and right sides. To maintain blood flow via the veins towards the heart, additional pressure is thus required on the left side. The veins may enlarge if blood flows in the opposite direction or pools there. The development of a varicocele is gradual. Swollen lymph nodes and other masses behind the abdomen can also sometimes obstruct blood flow. This might result in an unexpected enlargement of the scrotal veins.

These were the varicocele causes. Now let us discuss its symptoms.

Varicocele Symptoms

A varicocele often develops on the left side of the scrotum and usually shows no symptoms at all. But, You could observe some varicocele symptoms:

  • Testicle or scrotum swelling.
  • Size variations or abnormalities in yours.
  • Dull testicular soreness or scrotal pain often improves while lying down.
  • Symptoms that worsen after engaging in specific activities, including riding a bike or spending hours on your feet.
  • A varicocele may cause male infertility (inability to make a baby after one year of trying), but not all of them do.

A little bulge appears over the affected testicle.

How is Varicocele Diagnosed?

Varicoceles can be discovered by self-examination of the scrotum or during a standard medical examination. Patients may be instructed to take a deep breath, hold it, and bear it down while the urologist palpates the scrotum above the testicle. Your doctor may identify if you have a varicocele with several methods, including:

  • Physical Exam: Because a varicocele cannot usually be felt or seen when lying down, your doctor will most likely examine your testicles both standing and lying down.
  • Scrotal Ultrasound: Scrotal ultrasonography may be required in some situations. This allows your doctor to get a thorough, precise picture by measuring the spermatic veins.
  • Valsalva Maneuver: This method is frequently used to detect minor varicoceles. To do the Valsalva technique, you must normally stand, take a deep breath, hold it, and bear down while the doctor examines your scrotum.

Once the varicocele has been identified, your doctor will label it one of three clinical grades. One out of Grades 1, Grade 2, or Grade 3 is given to them. The smallest grade is one, and the largest is three. The entire treatment course may not necessarily be impacted by size. The degree of your pain or infertility problems will determine your treatment options.

Methods of Varicocele Treatment

A varicocele does not necessarily require medical attention. The varicocele, however, may require treatment if:

  • causes pain
  • causes infertility
  • causes testicular atrophy

You may decide to stay away from particular activities that make you uncomfortable. A jockstrap or tighter-fitting underwear might help with discomfort brought on by intense exercise or prolonged standing. You could feel better if you applied ice packs to your scrotum. If your symptoms worsen, medical advice would be varicocelectomy, and varicocele embolization may be required.

● Varicocelectomy

A varicocelectomy is a same-day Surgery done in a hospital. The abnormal veins will be clamped or tied up by a urologist that enters through your pelvis or abdomen. After that, blood may pass through the aberrant veins and into the healthy ones. In 60 to 80 percent of males, varicocele surgery leads to a substantial improvement in semen analysis results.

● Varicocele Embolization

It is a less invasive surgery that can also be done on the same day. A small catheter is placed into a vein in the groyne or neck. After that, a coil is inserted into the catheter and into the varicocele. This prevents blood from reaching the abnormal veins.

Possible Complications & Risks

Varicoceles can result in three major problems: impaired fertility, reduced testosterone production by the testes, and scrotal pain. Varicoceles are not fatal; however, they are sometimes connected with severe circumstances. It appears that varicoceles usually always have an impact on testosterone production. Many men with varicoceles, however, can maintain good testosterone levels throughout their lifetimes without therapy. A varicocele might affect your body's ability to control the temperature of your testicles. Toxin accumulation and oxidative stress can occur as a result. These factors may contribute to poor testicular health and infertility.

Men of all ages and stages of life may develop a varicocele, which is a common condition. Most people either have very few or no symptoms. Discuss your treatment choices with your healthcare doctor, including how surgery may affect your reproductive future.

 

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