Tools

You are here: Home » Conditions & Treatments » Varicocele
Friday, 19 Oct 2018

Varicocele

E-mail Print PDF

What is a varicocele?

A varicocele is a group of enlarged veins that are found around one or both testicles. A varicocele can often be felt through the skin of the scrotum. About 1 in 5 men have a varicocele. In men that have fertility problems, about 40% have a varicocele. The enlarged veins are caused by inefficient blood flow within the internal spermatic vein. A varicocele is more common on the left than the right. This is because of differences in the way blood returns from this area of the body towards the main circulation.

What are the symptoms?

Often there are no symptoms. Sometimes varicoceles can cause mild to moderate testicular pain. Symptoms may develop gradually, long after the varicocele is first discovered. Varicoceles usually enlarge during a valsalva maneuver and may shrink when lying down.

How is it diagnosed?

A varicocele is usually identified by your doctor during a routine physical examination and confirmed with ultrasound. Varicoceles are usually first found during the teenage years.

What is the treatment?

Most varicoceles do not cause any symptoms or medical problems and thus do not require treatment. Sometimes, the varicocele is symptomatic causing a bothersome degree of discomfort or pain, or a semen analysis may show abnormalities, such as poor motility, associated with fertility problems. In these cases, surgery may be recommended to repair the varicocele. The most successful approach is via the microscopic varicocelectomy.