A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins inside the loose bag of skin that holds your testicles (scrotum). A varicocele is similar to a varicose vein you may see in your leg.
Varicoceles is one of the cause of low sperm production and reduced sperm quality, which can be a reason for infertility. However, not all varicoceles have an effect on sperm production. Varicoceles can also be a reason for testicles to fail to expand or shrink.
Most varicoceles develop over time. Fortunately, most varicoceles are easy to diagnose and many may not need treatment. If a varicocele causes symptoms, it can be repaired surgically.
What are the Symptoms of Varicocele?
A varicocele often produces no signs or symptoms. Rarely, it may cause pain. The pain may:
With time, varicoceles may expand and turn out to be more noticeable. A varicocele has been described as looking like a “bag of worms.” The condition may cause a swollen testicle, almost on the left side.
When to see a doctor ?
Because a varicocele usually causes no symptoms, it usually requires no treatment. Varicoceles may be found when a fertility evaluation or a physical exam.
However, if you encounter pain or swelling in your scrotum, find out a mass on your scrotum, notice that your testicles are different sizes, or develop a varicocele in your youth, or you are having issues with fertility, contact your doctor. A number of conditions can reason for a scrotal mass or testicular pain, some of which require immediate treatment.
What are the Causes of Varicocele ?
To know about the cause of Varicocele we should know about Male reproductive system. Your spermatic cord transports blood to and from your testicles. It’s not certain what causes varicoceles.
However, many experts trust a varicocele develops when the valves inside the veins in the cord stop your blood from flowing properly. The resulting backup causes the veins to widen (dilate). This would possibly cause harm to the testicle and result in worsened fertility.
Varicoceles often form during puberty. Varicoceles generally occur on the left side, most likely due to the fact of the position of the left testicular vein.
What are the Risk factors Varicocele ?
There do not appear to be any massive risk factors for developing a varicocele. But there are major Complications arise of Varicocele.
A varicocele may cause:
Shrinkage of the affected testicle (atrophy).
The bulk of the testicle consists of sperm-producing tubules. When damaged, as from varicocele, the testicle shrinks and softens. It’s not clear what reasons the testicle to shrink, however the malfunctioning valves allow blood to pool in the veins, which can result in elevated pressure in the veins and may be exposed to toxins in the blood that might cause testicular damage.
- Testicles Maintain low temperature than the body to maintain the quality of Sperm Produced.
- Varicoceles increases the temperature of the testicle very high, affecting sperm formation, movement (motility) and function.
How is Varicocele Diagnosed ?
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, which may reveal a non tender mass above your testicle that feels like a bag of worms. If it is big enough, your doctor will be able to feel it.
If you have a smaller varicocele, your doctor may ask you to stand, take a deep breath and hold it while you bear down (Valsalva maneuver). This helps your doctor detect abnormal enlargement of the veins.
If the physical exam is inconclusive, your doctor may order a scrotal ultrasound. This test, which makes use of high-frequency sound waves to create precise image’s of structures inside your body, may be used to make sure there is not any other reason for your symptoms. In some cases, further imaging might be recommended to rule out other reasons for the varicocele, such as a tumor compressing the spermatic vein.
Why Varicocele should be treated ?
Infertility is a major problem because of Varicocele. Major Cases of Male Infertility issue is due to Varicocele. Some men with varicoceles are capable to father a child without any treatment. However, if your varicocele
you may want to undergo varicocele repair.
The reason of surgical operation is to seal off the affected vein to redirect the blood flow into normal veins. In cases of male infertility, treatment of a varicocele might improve or treat the infertility or enhance the quality of sperm if techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are to be used.
Clear indications to restore a varicocele in adolescence include progressive testicular atrophy, pain or abnormal semen analysis results. Although cure of a varicocele usually improves sperm characteristics, it is not clear if an untreated varicocele leads to worsening of sperm quality over time.
What are the Treatment Options For Varicocele?
Varicoceles can be repaired by following methods
- Open surgery. This Procedure can be is accomplished on an outpatient basis, on general or local anesthetic. Commonly, your doctor will approach the vein thru your groin (inguinal or subinguinal), however it is also possible to make an incision in your abdomen or below your groin.
- Advances in varicocele repair have led to a reduction of post-surgical complications. One development is the use of the surgical microscope, which allows the doctor to see the treatment area during surgery. Another is the use of Doppler ultrasound, which helps guide the procedure.
- Laparoscopic surgery. Your doctor makes a small incision in your abdomen and passes a tiny instrument through the incision to see and to repair the varicocele. This technique requires general anesthesia.
- Percutaneous embolization. A radiologist inserts a tube into a vein in your groin or neck via which instruments can be passed. Viewing your enlarged veins on a monitor, the doctor releases coils or a solution that causes scarring to create a blockage in the testicular veins, which interrupts the blood flow and repairs the varicocele. This method is not as widely used as surgery.
After the Procedures ?
You may be able to return to normal, nonstrenuous things to do after two days. As long as you are not uncomfortable, you may return to greater strenuous activity, such as exercising, after two weeks.
Pain from this procedure generally is moderate however may continue for various days or weeks. Your doctor may prescribe NSAID’s for a limited period after surgery.
Your doctor may advise you not to have intercourse for a period of time. Most often, it will take several months after surgical procedure before improvements in sperm quality can be seen with a semen analysis. This is because it takes about three months for new sperm to develop.
Open surgical operation using a microscope and subinguinal method (microsurgical subinguinal varicocelectomy) has the best success rates when compared with other surgical methods.
Varicocele repair may have few risks, which would possibly include:
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