Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Testicular Varicose Veins are a Leading Cause of Infertility

Men who cannot have children may suffer from testicular varicose veins, or a varicocele. This is a condition that causes swelling of veins inside the scrotum due to malfunctioning blood valves or physical dysfunction. The testicular varicose veins can cause blood to pool at the bottom of the scrotum tissue.

Only 5% of varicocele patients are affected in the right-hand testicle. 95% of the time, the left testicle is the one affected. Dr. Julio Baquero, Medical Director of Interventional Radiology at South Miami Hospital, said that the spermatic vein found in the left testicle is bigger, which explains the one-sided trend. Varicoceles most often occur between the ages of 15 and 35. As much as 15% of males will develop a varicocele in their lifetimes. The condition causes them to become infertile because the pool of blood that develops often causes a rise in body temperature in that area, which can decrease sperm count and sperm quality. Contrary to some notions, varicoceles are not linked to testicular cancer.

Varicoceles do not have to produce any significant symptoms at the start. Some may feel pain, but in the majority of cases patients will not even notice. If he does experience pain, it may be described as a dull and uncomfortable feeling as well as a feeling of heaviness. The pain is exacerbated by standing or sitting down for a long period of time. Over the course of the day, the pain may increase. Relief from varicocele pain is usually achieved by lying down, but felling pain in the testicular area, especially if you notice a lump, usually means that it is time to find a doctor. For most other varicocele patients, since varicoceles rarely produce symptoms, a diagnosis is usually made when the man visits a doctor for fertility examinations.

As for risk factors associated with varicoceles, doctors assume that those who are obese or overweight may be more likely to develop the condition over time. Venous atrophy is another complication of varicocele. It occurs when the testicle shrinks or becomes too soft. Doctors cannot pinpoint a reason why the testicles might shrink, but they have much evidence to support the idea that a malfunctioning blood valve is the probable cause of increased pressure in the area. Some estimate that toxins may play a role in the testicular shrinkage.

When it comes time to treat a varicocele, patients have several options. One treatment option is varicocele surgery. Surgery may be necessary to seal off the malfunctioning vein and redirect the blood flow through to another normal, working vein. With laparoscopic varicocele surgery, this process is minimally invasive. A small incision is made in the abdomen, through which the doctor can surgically repair the varicocele. Another option is percutaneous embolization, a procedure during which a catheter is inserted through to the groin in order to deliver a medical solution or to install a coil intended to block blood flow to the varicocele until it atrophies.

If you need help treating infertility caused by testicular varicose veins, then contact a vein specialist. A physical examination is the first step when you see a physician. In some varicocele patients, a hard lump or mass can be noticed above the testicle. In order to detect the lump, the doctor might ask you to take a deep breath and hold it while he examines the scrotum for any abnormalities.  Another diagnostic tool used to detect varicocele is an ultrasound of the scrotum.

close this window (x)