Varicoceles are a medical condition in which the veins around one or both of the testicles become enlarged and twisted. It is estimated that this condition affects up to 15% of men. Varicoceles are usually benign — or noncancerous — and may cause no symptoms. However, they can lead to decreased fertility and other complications if left untreated.
What Causes Varicoceles?
The exact cause of varicoceles is unknown, but some factors may increase the risk. These include:
Family history of varicocele
An underlying condition in the veins, such as venous reflux
Some men with varicocele experience symptoms such as pain or discomfort in the scrotum, testicular atrophy (shrinkage) or a feeling of heaviness in the testicles. Additionally, men may experience some fertility issues like decreased sperm count and quality. In rare cases, a varicocele can be associated with male infertility.
A varicocele diagnosis is usually made through physical examination with an ultrasound or other imaging tests. Early diagnosis and treatment of varicoceles can help prevent complications such as decreased fertility and other issues. If you have any questions or concerns about varicoceles, talk to your doctor.
Treatment options for varicoceles depend on the severity of the condition and whether it is causing any symptoms. In some situations, no treatment may be needed if the varicocele does not cause any discomfort or fertility issues. If treatment is needed, nonsurgical treatments such as wearing tight underwear or a jockstrap to support the testicles can help relieve discomfort.
Surgery is typically recommended when varicoceles cause pain or infertility issues. The goal of surgery is to reduce the size of the varicocele and improve blood flow. Surgical procedures include:
Open surgery: A traditional surgical operation using larger, strategic incisions to remove the varicocele.
Laparoscopic surgery: In a laparoscopy, the swollen, affected veins are cut off, and the ends are sealed.
Minimally invasive embolization: An embolization is a minimally invasive surgery that diverts blood flow away from the affected vein and varicocele.
Texas Vein & Wellness Institute Can Help
If you think that you may have a varicocele, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor right away. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the more likely you are to prevent long-term complications.
If you have any questions or concerns about varicocele, you can reach out to your doctor or the specialists at Texas Vein & Wellness Institute. We specialize in vein-related conditions and can help provide guidance on the best treatment options for you based on your individual circumstances. With the right care and attention, it is possible to manage the symptoms and prevent any potential complications.